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What does forfeiture of lease mean?

Forfeiture is a complex area of law which allows, in specific circumstances, a commercial landlord to bring a lease to an end where a tenant is in breach of any of its lease obligations or on the occurrence of certain events specified in the lease, for example where a tenant enters an insolvency process.

Can you forfeit your lease?

A landlord’s right to forfeit must be expressly stated in the lease. If there is no specific right to forfeit, then as a landlord you only have an implied right to forfeit if your tenant breaches a condition of the lease e.g. does not pay rent.


As a landlord, you must make sure you comply with various statutory and common law rules before exercising your right to forfeit. This is something our solicitors can assist you with understanding and advise you on.

Furthermore, if the property is rented as residential property or as a mixed space (i.e. commercial and residential), the right to forfeit or peaceably re-enter the property is not available without an order from the court. To restrict a person from lawfully entering a property in these circumstances is a criminal offence and could leave you liable to a fine or even imprisonment.

Finally, if your tenant falls into an insolvency situation, you may not be able to forfeit the lease without consent or permission from the court. Our team of property litigators can help you understand restrictions and which specific restrictions affect your lease in particular.

Procedure for forfeiture

Forfeiture is a final and positive act which as a landlord you cannot withdraw from. Any action taken to forfeit must be clear and demonstrate your intention to forfeit the lease. As a landlord, you must also communicate the act of forfeiture to your tenant.

Forfeiture can be carried out either by peaceably re-entering the property or by issuing and serving possession/forfeiture proceedings at the court.

Why Choose Myerson?

Myerson recently acted for a tenant in respect of forfeiture proceedings for possession of a valuable commercial property in Manchester. The forfeiture action was based on alleged breaches of covenant involving building works. We were successful in making an application, which was contested, for the proceedings to be struck out. The application was entirely successful and the proceedings were struck out. The landlord was ordered to pay our client’s costs.

Our specialist property litigation lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with forfeiture matters, acting on behalf of both landlord and tenant, and can advise as to your legal position and options.

Meet Our Specialists

Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.

Seán Hackett

Seán Hackett

Seán is a Partner and Head of our Real Estate Litigation department

Laura Pile

Laura Pile

Laura is a Senior Solicitor in the Real Estate Litigation Team

Jennifer Hartley

Jennifer Hartley

Jennifer is a Solicitor in our Real Estate Litigation department.

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