Real Estate Glossary

What's a Forfeiture ?

Forfeiture is a legal term for the loss of property or rights due to failure to meet some obligation or condition. Forfeiture can happen in different ways but usually happens as a penalty for not complying with the terms of a legal agreement, such as a contract.

A common example of forfeiture in the real estate context is when a property is purchased under a land contract (also known as a contract for deed), where a buyer makes payments to the seller over a period of time but fails to meet the agreed-upon terms of the contract. In this case, the seller has the right to forfeit the property, and take back possession, they also may keep the payments that were made so far.

Another example could be in commercial leases, where if a tenant breaches the lease agreement, the landlord can terminate the lease and regain possession of the property. This can also be included in specific conditions like not paying rent or taxes on time, or not performing necessary repairs.

It's important to be aware that both Forbearance and Forfeiture are serious legal actions that can have significant consequences for both the borrower and the lender, and they should be used as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted.