If a tenant breaches their lease, there can be serious consequences. Leasehold enforcement is a vital aspect of managing tenancies and solid legal advice from leasehold enforcement solicitors is essential.
How is a lease breached?
A lease is typically breached by a failure to pay either ground rent, buildings insurance or service charges, by carrying out unauthorised works on the property or unauthorised sub-letting. If a lease has been breached, then the landlord can apply to the court to have the lease brought to an end. This is known as forfeiture. However, there are several stages of residential litigation to go through before this step is realised. Leasehold Enforcement is a heavily regulated, niche area of law and the full and proper process must be followed.
Leasehold enforcement with Oratto
Accessing legal services quickly and easily when they are needed is a must for most individuals and businesses. With this in mind, Oratto has been created as a web-based platform designed to provide a simple route to high-end lawyers for those who need them. Each solicitor on this page is an expert in Leasehold Enforcement law. You can choose a solicitor for yourself or you can send your details to Oratto and we will use the Match function to select the best lawyer for your individual needs. They will then be able to advise you based on an assessment of your circumstances.
Can I add charges if payment is defaulted?
The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 stipulates that administration charges can be applied, even if the lease does not provide for this. The leaseholder must receive a copy of the Tenant's Rights and Obligations (Administration Charges). A typical lease will generally provide a late payment interest rate of about 4% above the base rate. Your chosen lawyer will be able to advise you on this.
When debt recovery becomes necessary, a solid and clear procedure must be followed and it must be understood that late payment will not be tolerated. Debt recovery solicitors can advise on how to ensure that this information is received by the leaseholder.
Stages of leasehold enforcement
The initial step is to send a reminder letter 14 days after the date on which the payment was expected. This letter should set out the exact procedure if payment is not forthcoming. After 21 days a second reminder should be sent, advising that unless full payment is received within seven days, court action will be started. If there is still no payment or satisfactory response, then after 28 days a claim form can be filed with the court.
Each letter must be precise, clear, and set out the relevant information as well as the consequences of non-payment. Access to legal services must be pointed out and a reasonable period of time given to respond. It's essential to follow the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and ensure that all notices and invoices are issued in line with legal requirements. Your Oratto member lawyer will be able to make sure that this is the case.
Judgment usually happens in the form of a County Court Judgment, or CCJ. The full amount of the debt and fixed costs (if the claim is under £5,000) will generally be awarded, plus late payment interest. Once judgment has been made then you can apply for enforcement, which means an Enforcement Officer (or bailiff) will visit the debtor's premises and remove or take control of goods to the value of the outstanding debt.
Connect with a skilled, experienced leasehold enforcement lawyer from Oratto today for solid, clear advice on your leasehold debt recovery.