Termination of Tenancies for Tenant Default

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

This project is complete. We are awaiting the Government's response to our recommendations

The project set out to reform the means by which a landlord can terminate a tenancy where the tenant has not complied with their obligations.

We published our final report on 31 October 2006. Our report was based on a consultation we conducted in January 2004. That consultation followed from a number of previous pieces of work undertaken by the Commission in relation to the law of termination of tenancies including a 1994 Report, ‘Landlord and Tenant Law: Termination of Tenancies Bill’ and a 1998 Consultative Document (and subsequent 1999 Press Release).


Our Recommendations

Our recommendations, and a draft Termination of Tenancies Bill, are contained in our final report.

In our report, we considered that the law under which a landlord can terminate a tenancy (the “law of forfeiture”) was complex, lacking coherence and could lead to injustice. We therefore made recommendations to abolish the current law of forfeiture and replace it with a statutory scheme for the termination of tenancies, based on what is appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances.

The statutory scheme for termination of tenancies we recommended would:

  • introduce a new concept of “tenant default” to define the circumstances in which a landlord may seek to terminate the tenancy;
  • require notices to be served on a tenant before termination action can be taken by a landlord;
  • establish a court-based termination scheme and enable the court to make such order relating to the tenancy as it thinks appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances when a tenant default has occurred;
  • provide an alternative procedure under which the landlord can bring a tenancy to an end without applying to the court.


Developments since publication of our report

In March 2019, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee issued a report considering leasehold reform which suggested that Government should take up the proposals in our 2006 report to reform forfeiture. Following on from its response to that report in July 2019, Government asked the Law Commission to update its 2006 report, given the passage of time and to take into account the implications of the reforms of residential leasehold that were underway.

In August 2021, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was provided with possible options and updates to the recommendations for Government’s consideration. Government is reviewing these. The Commission’s formal recommendations remain as set out in its 2006 report.




Documents and downloads

Project details

Area of law

Property, family and trust law