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Forfeiture of Lease | Forfeiture Clause | Residential Lease

Introduction |

When it comes to leasing a property, it’s essential for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and obligations. In certain situations, a landlord may have the power to terminate a lease and take possession of the property. This legal process is known as the forfeiture of lease. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of lease forfeiture, exploring the grounds on which a landlord can forfeit, how the process works, and the relief options available to tenants.

What is the Forfeiture of Lease?

Forfeiture of lease refers to the legal action taken by a landlord to terminate a lease agreement due to the tenant’s breach of the terms and conditions outlined in the lease. By forfeiting the lease, the landlord can regain possession of the property and terminate the tenant’s rights to occupy the premises.

On What Grounds Can a Landlord Forfeit?


A landlord can initiate the forfeiture process if the tenant has breached a fundamental term of the lease. This breach could range from non-payment of rent to unauthorized alterations to the property. It’s important to note that the breach must be substantial and significant enough to justify the termination of the lease.

Continuing and Once-and-for-all Breaches

Continuing breaches refer to situations where the tenant repeatedly violates the lease terms over an extended period. This could include persistent late payment of rent, causing a nuisance to neighbors, or failure to maintain the property adequately.

Once-and-for-all breaches, on the other hand, are single acts or omissions that are severe enough to warrant immediate forfeiture. Examples include illegal activities conducted on the premises, substantial damage to the property, or unauthorized subletting.

How Does Forfeiture Work?

The forfeiture process typically involves several steps and legal considerations. Let’s explore the general framework:


Before initiating forfeiture proceedings, the landlord must serve a notice on the tenant, clearly stating the alleged breaches and the intention to seek possession of the property. The notice should also provide a reasonable time frame for the tenant to rectify the breaches or respond to the allegations.

Court Proceedings

If the tenant fails to address the breaches or disputes the allegations, the landlord can proceed with legal action. This involves filing a claim in court seeking possession of the property and any outstanding rent owed.

Possession Order

If the court finds in favor of the landlord, a possession order will be issued. This order grants the landlord the legal right to take back possession of the property and terminate the lease.

Execution of Possession Order

To enforce the possession order, the landlord may seek assistance from enforcement agents or bailiffs who have the authority to enter the premises, remove the tenant, and secure the property.

Relief From Forfeiture

In certain cases, tenants may be able to seek relief from forfeiture to avoid losing their leasehold rights. Relief from forfeiture refers to the court’s power to set aside the possession order and reinstate the lease. However, relief is not automatic and depends on various factors, such as the seriousness of the breach, the tenant’s history, and the promptness of the tenant’s application.

For Breaches Other Than Non-Payment of Rent

When the breach involves matters other than non-payment of rent, the cort has the discretion to grant relief if the tenant can remedy the breaches, compensate the landlord for any losses suffered, and demonstrate a genuine intention to comply with the lease terms moving forward.

For Non-Payment of Rent

In cases where the breach involves non-payment of rent, the court will consider the tenant’s ability to pay the arrears and ongoing rent, as well as any previous history of late payments. If the tenant can demonstrate a reasonable plan to settle the outstanding amount and fulfill future rent obligations, the court may grant relief.


Understanding the forfeiture of lease is crucial for both landlords and tenants. Landlords have the right to protect their property and terminate leases when tenants breach essential terms. However, tenants also have the opportunity to seek relief from forfeiture if they can rectify the breaches and demonstrate a commitment to complying with the lease terms.

If you find yourself involved in a forfeiture situation, it’s essential to seek professional legal advice to navigate the complex process effectively. Shergroup, a trusted provider of legal services, can guide you through the forfeiture process and provide tailored solutions to protect your interests. Visit for more information and expert assistance.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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