If you are a landlord with tenants on long leases, a breach of lease will not always mean you want the property back. Not least because forfeiting a lease can sometimes be difficult. What are your options if you want the problem rectifying, but are otherwise happy for your tenant to stay?
We look at some of the alternatives to seeking possession that may be available to landlords of premises held on long leases. It is important to note that not all options apply to all types of lease or tenancy agreement. However, some of the applicable principles will apply to either residential or commercial tenancies. We would advise you on the best way forward in your individual circumstances.
There are several alternatives to seeking possession if your tenant is in rent arrears.
- Money proceedings: these would lead to a CCJ for the tenant.
- Insolvency action: particularly effective for commercial tenants.
- CRAR (Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery): this is only appropriate for commercial tenants.
If the tenant has breached repairing obligations, the landlord may be able to enter the premises to carry out the necessary repairs himself. The lease will set out whether this is permitted, and details on how much notice should be given to the tenant. The landlord may be able to recover the costs of repairs from the tenant.
Depending on the type of breach, a landlord may be able to apply to court for the Court to order the tenant to carry out the obligation. This can be particularly useful if your tenant owns a property on a long lease and is failing to repair the property.
If the landlord has suffered loss as a result of the tenant’s breach of lease, he may have a claim for damages. The general rule here is that the landlord would be put back in the position he would have been in had the tenant not breached the lease obligations.
To stop a tenant breaching a lease obligation, a landlord may be able to apply to Court for an injunction. Injunctions are orders of the Court for someone to do or stop doing something. Courts can be reluctant to grant injunctions, and will usually consider whether damages are a more appropriate remedy.
Injunctions are usually granted where the tenant has carried out alterations to the premises in breach of their lease.
Finally, landlords need to think carefully about which course of action to take. They should consider the relationship with the tenant and how any action will affect that relationship. Despite the various alternatives to seeking possession, of course, in the end, that might be your best option.
If you are a landlord with a troublesome tenant, our commercial or residential property disputes team can help. Call us today on 0800 9887756 for a FREE initial consultation.