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Landlord's remedies for tenant insolvency

View profile for Michelle Hayter
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These are difficult times and many landlords are finding their tenants are having difficulty paying their rent. Where does this leave you as a landlord? It is possible, but by no means certain, that you can agree to a temporary reduction in rent for your tenant – in the hope of retaining him – but this could leave you out of pocket. You may be able to regain possession of your property, either by forfeiting the lease by court proceedings, or by peaceable entry to the property. However, there are procedural restrictions that must be followed by the landlord, regardless of the terms of the lease. It is essential to take legal advice before taking this step. The advantages of peaceable re- entry are:

• You will re-gain possession of the property

• You can claim damages from the tenant if they are in breach of their obligations to return the property in the condition required by the lease.

However, the disadvantages of this method are:

• You may not want to run the risk of having the property untenanted for a substantial amount of time with no rent being received

• If the tenant makes an application for relief from forfeiture you will not be able to enforce the repairing and other covenants until the tenants application has been decided

• If the tenant is insolvent or bankrupt you may be unable to recover costs of repairs

• The landlord may become liable for payment of rates

Michelle Hayter, Dispute Resolution Solicitor, says “Court proceedings are costly and lengthy and if peaceable re-entry is possible this is probably the best route to take. It is effected by entering the premises when they are empty, changing the locks and posting a notice of re-entry of the premises on the door, notifying the tenant and his solicitors.”

Any re-entry must be peaceable otherwise the landlord can face prosecution, simply securing the property is not classed as re-entry. This is quite a complicated area of law and it would be wise to seek legal advice before taking any steps to regain possession of your property.

For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of his team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.

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