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Lease of commercial premises – user restrictions – competition law

Martin Retail Group Ltd v Crawley Borough Council (Not formally reported – HHJ Dight sitting at Central London County Court 24 December 2013)

This case concerns the impact of competition law. The judge was asked to determine a preliminary issue in an unopposed application for a renewal tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (‘the Act’). The issue concerned the user clause of the proposed new lease.

Renewal of Lease, Tenancies

Business lease renewal – opposition to a new tenancy – grounds 30(1)(a), (b) and (c) – alleged breach of covenants

Youssefi v Joan Mussellwhite [2014] EWCA Civ 885 (2 July 2014)

In the case the Court of Appeal was required to consider whether the tenant was entitled to a new lease. The landlord opposed the grant of a new lease on several grounds.

Renewal of Lease, Tenancies

Alterations – landlord’s consent – not to be unreasonably withheld – whether fear of a future enfranchisement claim to deprive landlord of the freehold a reasonable ground to withhold consent

We summarise this decision in brief because it is topical in that last year the government amended the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 to allow certain buildings to be converted from B1 office use to C3 residential use without the need for an express grant of planning permission.

Disputes & Litigation

Landlord’s unconditional written consent – what does this amount to in context?

We summarise this Scottish case in brief to raise awareness and because it raises an interesting issue of construction of the term ‘unconditional written consent’ as used in a definition of ‘Landlord’s Consent’ in the context of the assignment of a tenant’s interest in a commercial lease.

Disputes & Litigation

Signatures on documents – not always needed to create a binding contract or obligation

We mention this case in brief by way of a timely reminder as to the circumstances in which a binding obligation may arise even if there are no formal documents or signatures.

Leases, Agreements
Hot Topics

Tenant insolvency – landlord’s obligation for empty property rates

In our February 2014 edition, Commercial Leases [2014] Volume 28 Issue 1 at p2020, we summarised a number of recent decisions focussing on what was meant by ‘occupation’ so as to give rise to an obligation on a landlord to discharge business rates on empty property. The issue surfaces again in this case where the tenant became insolvent and the liquidator disclaimed the lease.

Tenancies, Tenant Insolvency

Business lease – repairs – alterations – reinstatement – notice required?

Although this was an appeal from a decision of a Scottish Court the general principle is applicable to English landlord and tenant law.

Leases, Options

Commercial lease – option to break – conditions precedent – payment of rent –apportion of rent paid on termination

The first instance decision in this case of Morgan J was summarised in our June/July 2013 issue, Commercial Leases, Volume 27 Issue 5, at p1949. That decision has now been overturned on appeal. The appeal decision has been widely reported upon and commented upon in the legal press and so we summarise it briefly in this issue.

Leases, Options

Contract for the sale of land – forged signature – ratification – specific performance

In November 2009 the defendant seller (S) agreed to sell a property to the claimant purchaser (P) for the sum of £155,000.

Sale & Purchase, Sale of Lease

Certificate of practical completion – development project – right to rescind – obligation to complete

The developer vendor (V) agreed to sell and the purchaser agreed to buy former agricultural barns once V had converted them for residential occupation.

Sale & Purchase, Rescission for Breach

Lease renewal – length of new term – tenant required to take longer term than requested

This interesting decision has just come to my notice. I summarise it briefly for readers because it is topical on the current trend of shorter lease lengths and the modern approach of the courts. This case was an uncontested lease renewal. There were two issues between the parties; length of the new term – tenant proposed five years – landlord proposed 15 years and the amount of the new rent – tenant proposed £37,500 pa and the landlord proposed an initial rent of £182,350 subject to five yearly upwardly only rent reviews. I propose to focus on the lease length issue.

Tenancies, Renewal of Tenancy

Business tenancy – tenant partnership – landlord one of two partners – entitlement of remaining partner to seek a renewal tenancy

In our December 2013 issue, Commercial Leases, Volume 27 Issue 10, p2003, we summarised a first instance decision of HHJ Walden-Smith on a preliminary issue on whether one of two existing partners who were both tenants of the subject holding under the existing lease is entitled to make an application for a new tenancy under s24 Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the Act). The judge held that he was not. An appeal to the Court of Appeal failed.

Tenancies, Renewal of Tenancy

Business lease – conditional consent to assign – breach of statutory duty – assessment of damages

This case concerned an appeal against the assessment of damages awarded by the trial judge in respect of the landlord’s breach of statutory duty to give consent to the assignment of the lease of business premises.

Disputes & Litigation

Commercial premises – landlord requiring consent to the letting of a unit – tenant refusing consent – test of reasonableness

Staying with the theme of consents we highlight this Scottish case in brief. It raises a twist on the usual type of case on consents because here it is the landlord who seeks the consent of the tenant.

Disputes & Litigation