Breach of Contract: Tenancy Agreement - What Can be Done?

In England and Wales, a tenancy agreement lays the foundation for the landlord-tenant relationship. It details the obligations and rights of each party. If a party breaches this agreement, it can lead to serious legal consequences, including eviction.

Understanding Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST)

Assured shorthold tenancies are the most prevalent form of residential tenancy. They offer statutory rights to landlords and tenants alike. A crucial aspect of ASTs is the legal ability for landlords to reclaim possession of their property under specific conditions.

What constitutes a breach of contract: Tenancy agreement?

In England and Wales, a breach of contract in the context of a tenancy agreement occurs when either the landlord or the tenant fails to comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement. Common types of breached may include:

Breaches by the Tenant

Non-Payment of Rent

Failing to pay rent on the due date or within any agreed grace period.

Damage to the Property

Causing significant damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.

Subletting Without Permission

Subletting the property or part of it without the landlord’s written consent if required by the tenancy agreement.

Illegal Use of the Property

Using the property for illegal activities or purposes not permitted by the tenancy agreement.

Nuisance or Anti-Social Behaviour

Engaging in behaviour that causes a nuisance or disturbance to neighbours, such as excessive noise or harassment.

Breach of Maintenance Obligations

Failing to keep the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness and repair, as required by the tenancy agreement.

Violation of Specific Terms

Breaching any specific clauses in the tenancy agreement. This may include keeping pets without permission or making unauthorised alterations to the property.

Breaches by the Landlord

Illegal Eviction and Harassment

Attempting to evict the tenant without following the correct course of action or harassing the tenant.

Breach of Quiet Enjoyment

Interfering with the tenant’s right to peacefully enjoy the property without undue disturbance.

Non-Compliance with Health and Safety Regulations

Failing to ensure that the property meets health and safety standards, such as gas, electrical, and fire safety regulations.

Withholding Services

Cutting off essential services like water, electricity, or heating without a valid reason.

Entering the Property Without Notice

Entering the property without giving the required notice, except in emergencies.

Remedies for breach of a tenancy agreement

In England and Wales, when a breach of contract occurs in a tenancy agreement, both landlords and tenants have several remedies available. These remedies include:

Remedies for Landlords

Notice to Remedy

The landlord can give the tenant a formal notice to remedy the breach. This might involve paying overdue rent or repairing damage caused by the tenant.


Section 21 Notice (No-Fault Eviction)

A Section 21 notice allows landlords to evict tenants at the end of the fixed term tenancy or during a periodic tenancy without having to provide a reason.

Section 8 Notice (Fault-Based Eviction)

A Section 8 Notice allows landlords to evict tenants based on specific grounds outlined in the Housing Act 1988, such as rent arrears, damage to the property, or anti-social behaviour.

Claim for Damages

Landlords can seek compensation through the courts for any financial losses resulting from the tenant’s breach. This may include unpaid rent or costs of repairing damage.

Possession Order

A possession order is a court order that allows a landlord to seek possession of their property from a tenant.

This order is typically sought after a landlord has served the appropriate notice to the tenant and the tenant has either failed to comply with the notice or has contested the eviction.

Remedies for Tenants

Rent Repayment Order

Tenants can apply for a rent repayment order if the landlord has committed specific offense. These may include as renting out an unlicensed property that requires a license.

Withholding Rent

In some circumstances, tenants may withhold rent until necessary repairs are made by the landlord.

Legal Action

Tenants can take legal action to seek compensation if the landlord’s breach causes financial loss or distress.

Early Termination

Tenants can end the tenancy agreement early if the landlord’s breach is serious and makes the property uninhabitable.

How can Expert Commercial Law assist?

Our panel of expert solicitors have many years of experience in a wide range of residential tenancy dispute resolution. They can offer cost-effective solutions to suit your needs.

Property disputes can be difficult and time-consuming to resolve on your own. Expert Commercial Law has a panel of property litigation solicitors on hand to provide you with specialist legal advice and assistance.

All of the solicitors on our panel have the experience and expertise required to take on your case. All of our solicitor firms are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and offer a range of funding options for your case.

We are not a firm of solicitors; we have a panel of commercial law solicitors. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case on to a panel firm.


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Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm. 


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