Case study: advising a leaseholder on relief from forfeiture
Our property litigation solicitors advised a leaseholder after his landlord forfeited the lease on his flat.
Our client, Mr S, had purchased a flat as a second property and, to generate income, he sub-let it to a tenant. As with most residential flats, Mr S had purchased the long leasehold title of the flat and was therefore subject to the terms of his own lease.
Mr S’ landlord had changed on various occasions and he did not expect to hear from them. However, Mr S’ lease included a term to pay annual ground rent. The landlord sent formal demands to the flat address, but these weren’t passed on to our client by his sub-tenants. The landlord had not been notified of any other address for Mr S, and therefore was not required to send the demands to an alternative address.
Due to our client’s failure to pay the demanded ground rent, the landlord forfeited our client’s lease. They subsequently issued court proceedings to take back possession of the property. Forfeiture terminated the lease immediately and our client (or their sub-tenant) was no longer entitled to occupy the property. Our client had therefore lost his asset.
Our property litigation team assisted Mr S in obtaining relief from forfeiture, putting him back in the position he was in before that, allowing the lease to continue.