Residential leaseholder having trouble with your freeholder?

Are you a tenant or landlord  in breach of the lease ?

Are you a landlord seeking to forfeit (re-enter the premises to take possession) the lease for non payment of rent or for some other reason (nuisance behaviour, insolvency, change of use without permission, sub –letting) or are you a tenant seeking to defend a claim for forfeiture and to counterclaim for repairs and compensation?

During the Covid 19 pandemic the Government imposed a moratorium which amounted to a bar on landlords claiming forfeiture for non payment of rent from the 26th March 2020 until the 25th March 2022. The ban is lifted but the Commercial Rent ( Coronavirus ) Act 2022 introduced a compulsory arbitration procedure to protect tenants in relation to genuine arrears which accrued because they were forced to close by the government between the 21st March 2020 and 19th July 2021. Save for this, landlords are free again to use forfeiture as a weapon to enforce the covenant in the lease for rent to be paid. Forfeiture can be exercised through a certificated bailiff provided the lease permits peaceable re-entry but caution is needed and often the best way to proceed is to apply to court for an order for forfeiture as an order is less likely to be controversial. Forfeiture can be a very effective tool generally and is particularly useful where goods cannot be seized pursuant to the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery ( CRAR) procedure either because access to the premises cannot be obtained or where there is an absence of any goods because of the nature of the business carried on.

The court can of course grant relief against forfeiture upon certain conditions being satisfied and those conditions can include a requirement to pay the arrears of rent and to pay costs.

Tenants who may be entitled to claim compensation for disrepair or other breaches by the landlord should be mindful of any restrictions in the lease to claim set off or to counterclaim. It may be necessary to issue a free standing claim for compensation.

As involvement in litigious disputes can be very stressful we appreciate the need to implement cost effective strategies including early negotiation if appropriate to help achieved the desired redress.