defaulting tenant Tag

In our last article we described how it is necessary for a Queensland landlord to issue a form 124 notice before taking any steps to retake possession of premises from a tenant who holds those premises under a Queensland Commercial Lease. A commercial tenant will always have the right to apply to the courts for something called "relief against forfeiture".   The relief may be given even if the tenant is in default of the lease and even though the lease specifically provides that the landlord has the right to terminate. Courts have a wide and unfettered discretionary power to take into account all of the circumstances before deciding if the Court will allow a landlord to retake possession from a tenant.  Therefore a landlord may not have the ability to terminate a lease even if the tenant is in default. A tenant cannot claim relief against forfeiture before the landlord has commenced proceedings for possession or has taken possession. If the tenant anticipates that the landlord is making preparation to take possession then the tenant may apply for an injunction.  The tenant may do this once the section 124 notice is served. So how does the court decide if it will grant this "relief against forfeiture"?

If your Tenant has failed to pay rent or is in breach of some other essential term of the Lease, you may decide that terminating the Lease and searching for a new Tenant is the best way for you to limit your losses.   It may be, for instance, that the tenant is impecunious.

Before you will be able to “change the locks” and re-enter your property, Section 124(1) of the Property Law Act provides that you must first serve on your Tenant a notice which states the breach complained of and what the Tenant has to do to remedy the breach.

It is in your best interests that any breach notice is issued correctly the first time.  You must ensure that the breach notice is factually accurate and complies with the technical requirements imposed by law.

Providing a defective notice can be costly.

Firstly, a defective notice may give the Tenant the ability to have the notice set aside. This would force you to re-issue the notice thus delaying your efforts to terminate the Lease. This may allow the Tenant to continue to occupy the Premises while in breach until such time as the notice is re-issued correctly.