With many businesses struggling at present it is not uncommon for rents to go unpaid giving landlords the right to terminate the lease by re-entry. Unless there is a cue of tenants waiting to fill the vacant property some landlords take the view that it is better to give the tenant some breathing space and assist their recovery by taking a flexible approach to the recovery of arrears. At the very least this avoids a potential business rates liability for the landlord.
For landlords who want to evict tenants with a poor payment record, the power of forfeiture for non-payment of rent is a weapon that is generally available to them and depending on the terms of the specific lease will allow a landlord to change the locks to the tenanted property if rent is anywhere between 7 – 28 days overdue. However, landlords who think that they have got rid of the tenant for good once they have retaken possession need to think again.
Forfeiture for non-payment of rent is viewed by the law as a method by which the landlord can ensure he gets his rent paid. Therefore, if the tenant can come up with the payment of the arrears, and the costs the landlord has incurred in the eviction, they will usually be allowed back into the property if they act quickly. This procedure available to tenants who have had their leases terminated is known as relief from forfeiture.
So, the good news for tenants who have been evicted and have the money available to pay the arrears plus costs, is that the law can help you get back into your property even if the landlord doesn’t want you back. The lesson for landlords is to remember that the quick fix of forfeiture by re-entry does not necessarily mean you can wave good bye to your tenant for good.