Forfeit generally denies relinquishment or loss, and yet it is the term used to describe the landlord's role in the dance as they resume possession of a place. What is behind this?

  • Could you please indicate in what context you see the term "forfeit " or "forfeiture" used for a landlord's actions? Could it be that it refers to what is actually a forfeiture by the tenant? Feb 18, 2023 at 14:13
  • No, it seems quite clearly to denote a common law right accruing in certain scenarios to the landlord, who, may, for example, by certain actions elect to waive it. Feb 18, 2023 at 14:15
  • Can you please give one or more examples? This might help in evaluating the use of the term. Feb 18, 2023 at 14:17
  • uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/… - An overview of the key legal and practical issues which arise where a landlord takes steps to forfeit a lease, including waiver of the right to forfeit and the right to apply for relief from forfeiture. Feb 18, 2023 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


Forfeit can be used as a verb. When the landlord "takes steps to forfeit a lease" it means that the landlord is causing the lease to be canceled, to be placed in forfeiture. It is the tenant who forfeits right in such a case, but the landlord who takes action. to say "the landlord forfeits the lease" is short for "the landlord places the lease into forfeiture". Yes this usage can be confusing, but it is quite common.

Merriam-webster gives as sense 2 of entry 2 for "Forfeit":

to subject to confiscation as a forfeit

That is the sense being used here.


Because the tenant has forfeited their rights

It’s not a complicated term.

  • Yes but then (and this is the entire question) wouldn't it be the tenant forfeiting, ie a verb to describe what the tenant has done, and not the landlord "fofeiting" the tenancy? Wouldn't it then be for the landlord to "enforce" the tenancy's forfeiture, rather than to "forfeit" the tenancy? Feb 18, 2023 at 14:14
  • Don’t confuse the verb with the noun. The seller sells the house, the owner buys it. Nevertheless, the process is called a sale not a buy.
    – Dale M
    Feb 18, 2023 at 22:33
  • Fair enough. And - although sale doesn't have the quality of being able to be used as a verb in itself - i see how forfeit might have been developed into the relevant sense. Feb 18, 2023 at 23:03

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