If a landlord wishes to bring a lease to an end for breach of covenants that don’t include rent then a Section 146 Notice of the Law and Property Act 1925 is served on the leaseholder prior to the commencement of forfeiture proceedings.
Example situations where landlords may be entitled to serve a Section 146 include scenarios where tenants have caused damage to the property, created disturbances such as nuisance noise, or have sub-let some or all of the property without permission.
We’ll explain the Section 146 process, the legalities involved, and how to ensure the eviction process is compliant, enforceable and concluded as quickly as possible.
Disclaimer: The information provided on clearway.co.uk is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or relied upon as a substitute for professional legal counsel on the subject of debt, lease or eviction-related matters. Any reliance you place on the information provided on clearway.co.uk is strictly at your own risk. We shall not be liable for any loss or damage, including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information presented on this website.
When Can a Landlord Serve a Section 146?
To be effective in achieving this, the Section 146 Notice must provide details of what the breaches of covenant are to the leaseholder and also allow a reasonable amount of time to respond and remedy any breaches before a case moves on to forfeiture proceedings which are ultimately aimed at terminating the lease.
As we’ve noted, this type of eviction applies to any situation where the tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy, excluding late or missed rental payments. However, if a tenant owes more than £350 or has defaulted on rent due for over three years, a Section 146 may be suitable.
Landlords should also check the covenants and clauses within their tenancy agreement to verify that they have the right to forfeit the lease if the tenant breaches those terms. The notice needs to include several pieces of information to be valid.
Therefore, to summarise the three aims of a Section 146 Notice, it should;
- specify the breach complained of
- require the leaseholder to remedy the breach if at all possible
- require a leaseholder to pay compensation for the breach
It is important to note that court proceedings cannot be commenced until enough time has been given for a leaseholder to fulfil their obligations.
How Much Time Does a Tenant Served With a Section 146 Have to React?
All eviction processes require the serving party to give the respondent a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to respond, whether to correct the issue, pay for the costs, or bring their tenancy back within the lease terms.
In most cases, the notice period will be a few weeks, but this depends on the scenario and the nature of the breach. If you are unsure what constitutes a fair notice period, we recommend speaking with our rental eviction specialists for further advice.
Some breaches generally have a longer notice period, where there is a clear way for the tenant to remedy the situation. A tenant would normally be given an extended period if they are expected to repair damage or pay compensation to ensure they have sufficient time to collate the funds or organise the work.
How Can a Landlord Ensure a Section 146 Is Served Correctly?
Landlords can serve a notice in several ways but must ensure they have proof of receipt, without any potential for a tenant to claim the notice was never received. Options could include:
- Hand delivering the notice and passing it to the tenant in person. Notice is deemed as served on that same day.
- Leaving notice at the residence, posted through the letterbox – notice is considered as served three days after the written notice has been posted.
- Issuing notice via email, with the date of the notice the same day if the email is sent before 4:30 pm, or considered as served the day after if the email is sent later.
- Sending notice through a solicitor or certified enforcement agent.
Most landlords opt for the final solution since this removes the risk of confrontation or animosity while having verifiable evidence that the notice was valid and served in accordance with the relevant regulations.
What Happens After a Section 146 Notice is Served?
The next steps depend on how the tenant reacts to the notice and whether they comply with the requests to make amends, remove sub-tenants, repair damage to the property, pay compensation to cover the repair work costs or cease the behaviours that have caused complaints.
Can a Tenant Dispute a Section 146 Notice?
Tenants can dispute the notice if they believe that the breach of the lease shown within the notice is incorrect or unfair. They will need to serve a counter-notice to the landlord, which is a legal challenge that states why they are refuting the notice.
In this scenario, the dispute will escalate to a court hearing to decide which party is correct. Sometimes, the landlord and tenant can reach an amicable solution, depending on how serious the breach is and the strength of the evidence on either side.
Landlords are strongly advised to document any issues with a tenancy, such as complaints made, and take photos or videos of damage caused to their rental property since this can avoid any such drawn-out court processes.
Evicting a Tenant After Serving a Section 146 Notice
Provided you have proof that the tenant has received the notice and that they have been given an appropriate period to react, you may proceed with an eviction by forfeiting the tenancy.
This process involves applying to the local court system while recognising that, in limited circumstances, the tenant might be able to apply to the same court for relief from lease forfeiture.
However, the court is only likely to grant relief if the tenant covers all costs, outstanding debts, and court costs up to date, usually five days before the court is due to consider the forfeiture application from the landlord.
If the tenant makes good on all work, reparations and debts owing, the lease may then be reinstated. Otherwise, the court will normally issue a possession order stating that the tenant must vacate the property, with around four weeks between the initial hearing and setting the final eviction date.
Expert Advice on Serving Tenants in Breach of Their Rental Agreements With a Section 146
Clearway’s property team regularly consults with landlords and portfolio investors experiencing issues with tenants who fall into default, refuse to comply with eviction notices, or otherwise cause problems that can create time and cost pressures for landlords.
Please get in touch at any time if you believe a Section 146 notice would be the most appropriate way to evict a problematic tenant or need to discuss alternative eviction processes that may provide a swift resolution.
Section 146 notices have been in existence for well over 100 years, however this doesn’t mean that issuing them doesn’t come without its fair share of issues in some cases. If you require further advice on section 146 notices or forfeiture of a lease speak to one of our experts by calling 0800 002 9049.