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When leases end: Some thoughts on recently reported cases
This paper considers three recent cases that look at different situations when leases end. The first of these concerns a landlord’s determination to defeat a business tenant’s statutory security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, where the landlord’s intention to redevelop was designed for that purpose. In particular, is the landlord’s motive relevant to their intention to redevelop? The second case looks at whether a tenant had failed to give vacant possession of premises on the break date in their lease, when they had served notice and given up occupation of the premises. In particular, had they failed to comply with a pre-condition for a valid exercise of the break option and thereby lost the opportunity to break the lease which then continued for a further five years? The final case considers dilapidations. Whilst a breach of a repair is a continuing breach, can a landlord by words or actions temporarily waive a tenant’s repairing obligation, such that the tenant is only obliged to repair the premises with effect from the date that the obligation is reinstated?
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John Beckett is a consultant with Walkers Commercial Solicitors in York, having formerly been head of property and planning at a major national firm. He has specialised in commercial property matters since he qualified as a solicitor in 1981 and is still engaged in day-to day-client work. He has experience of major development projects including shopping centres, other town centre schemes and investment transactions. He has also acted for several local authorities on planning related matters and is a regular speaker at conferences for surveyors and solicitors.