Failure to forfeit: getting the notice wrong — the importance of being serviced

Where a notice is served pursuant to section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925 as a precursor to forfeiture, it must specify the exact breaches of covenant that are relied on and set out the landlord’s requirements for the tenant to remedy those breaches. If the facts mean that the exact breach is unclear or ambiguous, it is particularly important to be specific, as a tenant must be able to understand the notice and its effect.

In Anders v Haralambous and another [2-13] EWHC 2676 (QB), lack of clarity in a landlord’s notice led to it being held to be invalid by the High Court and meant that the landlord was unable to forfeit the lease for the tenant’s breaches.

This case concerned a valuable property in Fulham, south-west London. The property was let to Miss Anders (the tenant) by Mr & Mrs Haralambous (the landlord) on a long residential lease that contained the following tenant covenants: ‘not to use the premises or permit the same to be used for any purpose whatsoever other than as a self-contained private dwelling for residential purposes only’; and ‘not to assign, underlet or part with or share possession or occupation of part only of the premises’…

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