How to evict tenant without lease

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    How to evict tenant without lease

    I recently took over the rental side of a commercial property my elderly mother was managing and found one tenant had failed to sign his lease. He has occupied the office for over a decade and it was only 8 years ago that a lease was drawn up and awaited his signature. He didn't sign, so early this year I visited him, explained the matter and walked away with a signed lease. A couple of weeks later my agent sent him a demand for rent arrears my mother had missed.

    His solicitor then wrote a very rude letter alleging that the tenant was threatened and forced to sign the lease and totally disputes it and the arrears. Which is complete lies.

    After seeking legal advice, my solicitor questioned whether this lease would stand up in court, as it was wrongly drawn up but explained the tenant no doubt has a 'tenancy at will'. Over the next few months the tenant advised us he wished to leave and we informed him we have no objection.

    Now after 9 months, he has resurfaced and is asking to take on an adjoining office and willing to pay a silly rent amount.

    I have not agreed but have said we will accept a higher rent as long as he enters a compliant new FRI lease. If he questions the rent and disagrees, I am willing to jointly appoint a surveyor. This is also a scare tactic, as he currently pays a fraction of the valuation amount.

    Ideally I would want him gone. Is there anything quicker than a Sec25 notice which still gives him 6 months to stay for what could be a tenancy at will?
    Also, is it possible to claim the arrears under a tenancy at will? Is a high court application/writ worth trying?

    How to evict tenant without lease

    I have just taken responsibility of a commercial property on behalf of my mother, where there has been a tenant for nearly 12 years now. Unfortunately my mother was naive and did not realise he was missing payments.

    The problem is that he never signed a lease and so I am having to court claim for the arrears.

    My whole intention is to get him out from the property. He is trouble and pays a quarter of the going rate for this property. I can't forefeit as there is no lease, what other way can I get him out? Is a 'writ of possession' applicable in this situation? Please advise


      Is this the same tenant?


        Lol... Yes it is. Didn't get any replies to the older post


          Two related threads have been merged.
          I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating


            Unfortunately if there is no written lease there is no right to forfeit.

            It has to be very unlikely that the tenant has a tenancy at will.

            It seems that the only way to take matters forward is to serve a section 25 notice stating an unwillingness to grant a new lease on the grounds of persistent late payment. Best to get your solicitor to do it.

            If the tenant comes back saying that the lease he signed was valid after all then your solicitor needs to write to his to agree what the position is.


              Thank you for your reply. Thankfully we have served a section 25 notice on him back in January. We then sent him a formal demand for the arrears or alternatively provide evidence to show he has paid the missing rent. He did not provide any and also said that he had written to dispute the section 25 notice. My solicitor did not receive any coresspodence from him in regards to this.

              We have now also issued a county court claim against him for the arrears which so far he has failed to defend. I was just hoping that if I need to resort to sending bailiffs in the event we win the claim, maybe we could also get him out at the same time. As I have mentioned before, he is a troubling tenant and we have been more than fair with him. But he is the type who won't pay the arrears and will just prolong the issue with excuses.

              And after all this unnecessary stress, it seems silly that we still have to wait till the end of July to evict him.


                Hi Kam-london,

                A right to forfeiture is usually contained within a lease however in your case you do not have therefore you would have to rely on common law, which will require you to prove a breach of a condition or will require the tenant denying the landlords title.

                When did the rent become due?

                You say you have started a County Court claim, is this a money claim or possession claim?


                  Hi Vick and thanks for replying. It is a money claim online. I have the statements to show the missing payments and as he only ever paid by bank transfer, the records are there if I need to produce them at court. He threatened to contest any claim but as yet, with a couple of days to go, he has yet to defend the claim.

                  The tenant began missing payments around 8 years ago, but I have been advised that we can only claim as far back as 6 years at most. In a typical manner to similar stories I have read, he would pay one month, miss the next and then pay again at the beginning of the following month.

                  It is frustrating that there is no easier and simpler solution to get him out. And as he is paying a quarter of the expected rent for the property, we are losing money everyday. Even if he were to do a runner, at least I could change the locks and get another tenant in the property. The courts could always chase him for the arrears.



                    A money claim will not give you possession of the property, it appears to me that the only way your going to get the property back is to either forfeit the lease under common law or commence a possession claim.

                    If you like the tenant and want him to stay you could use the forfeiture as a tool to get him to sign a new lease with the right to use CRAR or Forfeiture in the future should you have any further problems.

                    What does he intend to counter claim for?


                      When I took over responsibility last year, I visited the property and asked him to sign the lease. I gave him enough time to read through it and did give him a copy. My mistake was I didnt allow him to seek legal advice, but I thought he would be ok as he has had a draft copy for 5 years. The following week I sent him a demand for the arrears. This ignited his darker side and his solicitor sent a menacing letter accusing me of threatening him and fraudulently obtaining his signature... Fighting this has cost me over 9k and though he has resorted to dropping his solicitor now and writes letters himself. He wants to counter-claim for prior legal costs and compensation for distress I have caused him (boo hoo!)

                      His letters have become abusive and contain unfounded allegations. I am letting him dig himself deeper, as any judge who sees these would realise he has tarnished the relationship between him and my mother. If we later apply for a claim for possession, I'm sure his letters would be vital evidence to support our claim.


                        Don't delay any further get him out.


                          I spoke to a high court bailiff who explained that we cannot apply for a possession order right now cos we have served the section 25. We can take the claim for arrears to the high court for now. If he were to leave, we can change the locks as he has given up his occupation.

                          The bailiff also added that if he had no lease and had been there for 15years or more, he could have made a claim on the property. Good thing we acted when we did.

                          Thanks for replying Vicks


                            Originally posted by kam-london View Post
                            The bailiff also added that if he had no lease and had been there for 15years or more, he could have made a claim on the property.

                            I think not.


                              Sorry, the bailiff who advised me on the 15 year part, was a normal bailiff based in East London, not a high court bailiff. Is what he said inaccurate?


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