Lease Forfeiture: The Common Pitfalls

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Close up of lease agreement empty document with penThe right of forfeiture, sometimes called the right of re-entry, refers to a landlord’s unilateral right to end a lease in case of a breach by his or her tenant. This right can only be exercised if there is a forfeiture clause in the contract. This clause should outline specific situations in which the landlord might forfeit the lease.

The common reason for forfeiture of a commercial lease property is non-payment of rent. This includes all the items termed as rent in the lease terms including service charges. Here are the typical pitfalls you should avoid in lease forfeiture.

Using incorrect procedure

You can carry out your forfeiture via court proceedings or through peaceable entry. Use of improper procedures might lead to penalties. The ideal method is to employ certificated bailiffs to effect your re-entry after office hours when commercial premises are empty.

Threats of violence

Any threat of violence to the property’s occupants might result in criminal proceedings against the landlord. This is because a threat of violence is considered a criminal offense according to the UK Criminal Law Act 1977. Should you anticipate any violence from your tenant, the certificated bailiffs can bring police officers for the forfeiture.

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Waiving your right to forfeit

A landlord’s actions after a breach of a lease might waive his or her right to forfeit. Any action that implies the continuance of your lease even after a violation is considered a waiver of your right to forfeit. Acceptance of rent after the breach of your lease, for instance, implies a continuing lease and hence negates your right to forfeit the lease. Should you attempt forfeiture despite a waiver, the tenant can sue for damages and wrongful forfeiture.

The legal ramifications and costs associated with these pitfalls can be catastrophic for a landlord. The decision to forfeit your lease, therefore, should be handled diligently. Employing professional debt enforcement officers can help you avoid these pitfalls and repossess your property.