What constitutes a breach of a tenancy agreement? (Legal Q&A)

by ContactLaw on January 31, 2012

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A tenancy agreement contains all the terms of the tenancy. It includes the tenant’s obligations towards the landlord, and the landlord’s obligations towards the tenant. These obligations can be written in the contract or implied by property law. A breach of the tenancy agreement by a tenant can result in the landlord receiving a Possession Order from the court that allows them to evict the tenant.

The landlord is under a legal obligation to serve notice on the tenant of their intention to seek possession of the property if the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or An Assured Tenancy. This requirement is set out in the Housing Act 1988. If the landlord breaches the tenancy agreement, they can be sued for breach of contract by the tenant. In addition, the court may refuse to grant their request for a Possession Order. Any litigation against a landlord should be handled by a suitably qualified solicitor. A property solicitor can also advise on any aspect of the tenancy agreement that is not clear.

A tenant can breach a tenancy agreement in a number of ways under property law. The first and most common is the failure to pay the rent. Almost all tenancy agreements will contain a written provision for the payment of rent. The tenancy agreement will specify the amount of rent, when the rent will be paid, and how it will be paid. Non-payment of the rent is a fundamental breach of the tenancy agreement by the tenant. Legal advice should be obtained from a property lawyer if there are mitigating circumstances as to why the rent has not been paid in accordance with the tenancy agreement.

Other acts by a tenant that can constitute a breach of the tenancy agreement include damaging the property, harassment of the neighbours, causing a nuisance to the neighbours, or failing to maintain the property. In addition, if a tenant has been carrying out illegal activities in the property, or has been arrested for an offence committed in the property, they will have breached of the tenancy agreement. In these circumstances he representation by property lawyers will be vital if you intend to contest any court action your landlord is taking against you.

A landlord can breach the tenancy agreement by not allowing the tenant to have exclusive possession of the property. If the landlord enters the property without permission or notice, they are preventing the tenant from enjoying the exclusive possession of the property. In addition, if they fail to carry out repairs this will constitute a breach of the tenancy agreement. If any of these events take place, legal advice from a property solicitor should be sought. The property solicitor can assess the events and decide whether legal action can be taken against the landlord.

If a tenant or landlord believes the other party to the tenancy agreement has committed a breach, they are advised to seek professional legal advice from a landlord and tenant lawyer. A property solicitor will advise their client on the best course of action for their situation.

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