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Relief From Forfeiture

Relief from Forfeiture. Written by John A Waller. Director. Reviewed February 2nd,2023.

Understanding What Relief From Forfeiture Is?

Tenants who have a lease on a commercial property and their landlords are attempting to remove them before the lease expiry must use ‘Relief from Forfeiture’ to ensure they can continue their lease and remain occupied in the premises.

Relief from Forfeiture – What is it?

A landlord can attempt to cease your lease and re-enter the property. To do this, you will have had to breach the lease terms as a tenant. This is a legal process, and the right of your landlord to do this will be included in most standard commercial leases.

As the tenant, you have a right to file a petition at the courts and request Relief from Forfeiture. This will invalidate your landlord’s rights to end your lease if granted. The Court can exercise and direct to grant or reserve Relief From Forfeiture. If the Court considers you have taken all the essential steps to correct the breach, it can be on the tenant’s side. This is a considered piece of law and requires experienced help.

If your landlord attempts to terminate your lease early formally. You may consider applying for relief from a Forfeiture order. To proceed once you have decided to defend your position. You MUST focus on the necessary steps to carry out the following:

1. Identify, if possible, the potential breach you have incurred to your lease?

2. Upon forfeiture proceedings commencing, your landlord may apply to the courts or enter your premises by ‘peaceable re-entry’:

Reinstating A Lease

The lease continues post forfeiture when a tenant or both landlord and tenant wish. The method of reinstating Forfeiture is known as a relief from forfeiture. The tenant directly applies ForfeitureCourt for comfort under section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925. If this does not happen, and the landlord and tenant continue their relationship without a relief order, then deemed a new lease.

If so, the landlords are at a disadvantage. The new lease is unlikely to have guarantees from the tenant. This then means the new lease may grant the tenant security of tenure. As such, the new lease will not have been contracted out.

What If A New Tenant Has Been Installed

Once the landlord has claimed Forfeiture and potentially left the pForfeiture a new tenant, the previous tenant still maintains the right to apply for relief. At this point, the Court considers factors such as time delay in making an application and if the landlord acted hastily and unreasonably in awarding a new lease.

A court ruling supporting the previous tenant will mean the new tenant takes the place of the last tenant’s landlord. Therefore, the lease between the new tenant and the landlord becomes an intermediate lease, and the new tenant then has to claim damages against the landlord.

Relief From Forfeiture – How do I apply?

Section 146 Notice details how to apply for Relief from Forfeiture. Ensure you have professional advice and assistance in filing your claim.

A statutory six months time limit exists for applications from when your landlord applied for forfeiture.

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