Leaseholders - private housing


Under most leases, there is condition for the freeholder to end or forfeit the lease before the expiry date. This right is rarely exercised and there is considerable protection for long leaseholders.

To start forfeiture proceedings the freeholder must inform the leaseholder that a breach of the terms of the lease has been committed and that the leaseholder has the opportunity to resolve the said breach. If the breach is not resolved, the freeholder can start court proceedings to recover possession. The court has a wide discretion to stop the lease from being forfeited, if the leaseholder promises to resolve the breach and not commit any further breaches.

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 contains changes to the forfeiture procedure. The freeholder must first prove before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal that the Leaseholder is in arrears of ground rent or service charges or has breached a term of the lease before a notice of forfeiture can be served.