The Law of Forfeiture – talks given by Peter Petts, Simon Allison & Monty Palfrey


Nature Of Forfeiture

  1. The right of a landlord to terminate a lease prematurely upon the default of the tenant: Clays Lane Housing Cooperative Ltd v Patrick (1985) 49 P. & C.R. 72.
  2. A proprietary interest in land.
    • It binds the world, not just the parties to the lease.
    • Landlord may forfeit even if rent owed to or by a third party, e.g. where:
      • rent is owed by an assignee, a lease may be forfeit even though
        the assignor has no liability to pay the arrears; or
      • the benefit of the rent has been assigned to a third party.
  3. Forfeiture destroys the lessee’s estate.
    • Including sub-tenancies
    • Subject to s. 18 of the Housing Act 1988 (lawfully granted assured tenancies)

Forfeiture / Repudiatory Breach / Surrender

  1. Forfeiture is analogous to repudiatory breach.
    • Cannot circumvent statutory restrictions of forfeiture: Bashir v Commissioner of Lands [1960] AC 44.
    • Tenant may rely on repudiatory breach: Hussein v Mehlman [1992] 2 EGLR 87.
    • However, breach must be of a condition of the lease.
  2. Forfeiture is distinguishable from surrender.
    • Surrender is consensual.
    • The landlord inherits any sub-tenants.
    • Surrender is a disposition of an interest in land and must be by deed: s. 52(1) of LPA 1925.
    • Except by operation of law: s. 52(2)(c). Requires the intention to surrender and acceptance.

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