TENANCY BREACHES, INJUNCTIONS AND FORFEITURE CLAIMS
Housing and Property Law Partnership (HPLP) specializes in housing and property matters. This includes tenancy breaches and other landlord-tenant issues.
COMMON BREACHES OF TENANCY
The most common problem for landlords and their agents is rent arrears. Other common problems are:
- Damage to the property
- Nuisance and antisocial behaviour (e.g., water leaks and floods, loud music, illegal car parking, fights and arguments, parties, drug taking, unauthorised pets, littering, etc.)
- Unlawful subletting and occupation, assignment or overcrowding of the property
- Erection of illegal structures in gardens or on the building such as unauthorised satellite dishes
Long leaseholders must keep to the terms of their lease. Failure to do so, whether by failing to pay ground rent or service charges, or some other breach, can be addressed by a forfeiture (possession) action.
Forfeiture Actions for Landlords
A notice issued under section 146 of Law of Property Act 1925 warns a leaseholder who is in breach of covenant (other than the covenant to pay rent) of the landlord's intention to forfeit the lease. The notice must specify the breach complained of and if the breach is remediable, require the tenant to remedy it and compensate the landlord. In many cases, arrears of rent/service charges can be secured from a long leaseholder's mortgage lender.
Most short-term or periodic tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies, so if the fixed term has ended, you can serve a Housing Act section 21 notice to evict the tenant, but this process will still take at least four to six months. If the tenant is still in the fixed term, you can bring eviction proceedings using an HA 1988 section 8 Notice, usually citing grounds 12 (breach of tenancy term), 13 (damage) and/or ground 14 (nuisance or annoyance). Landlords only give two weeks' notice, or none at all if ground 14 applies. Possession claims can be expedited in serious cases. These often result in a suspended possession order so the tenant can remain, provided the terms of the order are kept.
Injunctions Against Tenants
For very urgent matters, injunctions require a person to do, or refrain from doing, specific acts. They can be obtained if necessary in a matter of hours, days or weeks depending on the urgency. If they are breached, a fine or imprisonment can follow.
At HPLP, we provide boutique legal services to clients involved in landlord-tenant disputes. To discuss your situation with a dynamic solicitor at our office, contact us online.