Case study: over £79,000 awarded to landlord for tenant’s rent arrears and fraudulent documents

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Our property litigation solicitors recently helped a landlord to seek possession of a commercial property they owned after the tenant failed to pay their rent on time and sub-let the upstairs as a residential flat.

Forfeiture proceedings and the tenant’s defence

The landlord, Ms K, had previously instructed another solicitor who issued forfeiture proceedings (where the lease is terminated and the property is returned to the freeholder) but instructed our property litigation experts to help conclude the matter.

It was the tenant’s defence and counterclaim that the property’s lease was incorrect and subsequently, they had entered into an agreement with Ms K for the purchase of the property; something our client denied.

Three-day trial

The case progressed over 12 months. Despite attempts by Ms K to settle, a three-day trial took place after two adjournments.

At the trial, our client (represented by counsel) presented evidence from her husband, a handwriting expert regarding the documents relied upon by the Defendant (tenant) and the witness of the lease signatures.

The judgment included findings that documents relied upon and disclosed by the Defendant were fraudulent. This included a document allegedly signed by Ms K and her husband.

Our client was granted possession of the property and awarded £53,482 for rent arrears and mesne profits (when a tenant remains in the property after the lease has ended, the landlord can claim money from their continued use of the premises). She was also granted interest payable by the Defendant, fixed costs of the trial totalling £26,216.80, plus costs for the claim and defending the counterclaim on an indemnity basis.

The Defendant’s appeal

The Defendant filed a notice to appeal with the assistance of Counsel.

Our lawyers prepared and filed a statement of reasons setting out Ms K’s objections to the appeal, including that the application fee was not paid on time.

The appeal has not proceeded.

Our Property Litigation team has subsequently assisted the client with enforcement of the Possession Order, enforcement of the Costs Order (including advice on an application for a charging order), a detailed assessment of the indemnity costs and formalising the occupation of the new tenants at the property, which is being drafted by our Commercial Property team.

Contact our property litigation solicitors

If you have an issue with a tenant and are unsure of your rights as a landlord, our property litigation solicitors might be able to help. Call our expert team on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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