Upgrade to ChromeUpgrade to FirefoxUpgrade to Internet ExplorerUpgrade to Safari


Forfeiture or re-entry is the landlord’s right to terminate the lease if:

  • the tenant is in breach of any provisions of the lease; and/or
  • the tenant becomes insolvent.

Forfeiture can take place either by peaceable re-entry or by commencing court proceedings for possession of the leased property.

Peaceable re-entry can take place by the landlord changing the locks when the tenant is not in the property. Usually, this is carried out by commercial bailiffs. Alternatively, the landlord can commence court proceedings for possession of the leased property, to obtain a possession order, which would permit the landlord to enter the property and terminate the lease.

Landlords should be careful when proceeding with forfeiture, especially if there is a risk that the property will be vacant for some time. In other words, the landlords should consider the letting market before taking any steps to forfeit the lease.

Landlords cannot pursue a right of forfeiture for breach of covenant, other than for non-payment of rent, unless it serves a section 146 notice.

Before instigating any forfeiture proceedings, landlords should check whether the right of forfeiture has been waived.

Waiver of the right to forfeit

When a landlord determines that the right to forfeit has arisen, the landlord should be careful not to do anything that would invalidate or waive its right. Normally, waiver will occur in the following situations:

  • where the landlord has knowledge of the tenant’s breach of the lease; and
  • the landlord performs an unequivocal act recognising the lease as continuing to exist, for example, accepting rent payments from the tenant or otherwise treating the lease as ongoing.

Relief from forfeiture

Once a landlord has exercised its right to forfeit the lease, a tenant or lender has the right to apply for relief from forfeiture.

If the tenant succeeds with its right to claim relief from forfeiture, the lease will be restored to where it was prior to the forfeiture. Generally, the court will grant relief if:

  • the tenant pays compensation for breach of the lease; and
  • the court is satisfied that the tenant will perform its obligations under the lease going forward.

Coronavirus Act 2020

Please be aware that the Coronavirus Act 2020 might affect a landlord’s right to proceed with forfeiture during the pandemic.  This is an evolving situation so it is advisable to contact us for the latest up to date information.

Get in touch

For further advice, please contact Property Disputes Specialist Richard Darbinian at Richard.Darbinian@wards.uk.com or 0117 929 4811.

Or click here to see the details of our Commercial Property team.

To see your nearest Wards office, please click here.

Why us?

Our specialist dispute resolution lawyers have years of experience in all types of property dispute, advising home owners, landlords and tenants.

We’re known and respected for our straightforward, pragmatic approach and we’ll talk you through your options, working with you to find practical, cost-effective solutions.

Wards Solicitors’ specialist Disputes Team is singled out for praise in the 2020 Legal 500 Guide.

‘Over the years I have needed legal advice on a range of matters and have never hesitated to use Wards. Every team member in whichever discipline has always proved to be not only an expert in their field but very reactive to the exact needs of the client.’

‘Extremely empathetic, professional and very approachable.’

Get in Touch

Request a call back

If you’d prefer us to call you back, just use the form below to give us your number and the best time to call. It would also be useful if you could give us some idea of what you’d like to discuss.


UPDATE October 2020

We have now re-opened our branches to clients but all appointments and visits must be pre-booked to comply with government guidance.

Availability for face-to- face meetings in branches will be limited and remote contact with teams – via phone, email or video call – is preferred wherever possible.  Our prime concern remains the safety of our clients and our staff.

Please note that all visitors to our offices must, by law, wear a face covering.

We cannot accept drop-in visits from clients without an appointment being made in advance. If you have documents for us, including for ID certification, please deliver them to our letterbox

How to get in touch:

  • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
  • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, or email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you.  A list of our 11 branches is available here.

Thank you.

Wards Solicitors LLP