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Five important landlord and tenant appeal decisions awaited 12 February 2014

Decisions from the Court of Appeal are awaited in five important landlord and tenant cases.

Jervis v Pillar Denton Ltd [2013] EWHC 2171 (Ch)

This is an appeal by several landlords in the Game Station administration.  The company was put into administration in March 2012, one day after the March quarter day rent payment date.  The administrators are claiming that no rent was due until the June quarter day, even though the properties were occupied throughout.  Today was the first day of the appeal hearing.

How will the Court decide?  My money is on the administrators.  The Court of Appeal will not disturb the current state of the law.

Marks & Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Co (Jersey) Ltd [2013] EWHC 1279 (Ch)

This has to be one of the longest company names in any law report, but that is not why the case is important.   In this case Morgan J implied a term into a lease to the effect that, when the tenant exercised its break right, the landlord was required to return to the tenant rent in respect of the period after the break date.  The concept of the implied term has not been used in this argument before.

How will the Court decide?  With respect to Morgan J, I think the Court of Appeal will overturn the first instance decision and say that a tenant is not entitled to the return of rent unless it is specifically mentioned in the lease.

Siemens Hearing Instruments Ltd v Friends Life Ltd [2013] EWHC B15 (Ch)

In this case the lease required the break notice to specify particular wording, for reasons which are too complex to explain here (but are explained clearly in the judge’s decision).  For a reason known only to the tenant’s solicitors, they did not include the “magic words” in the break notice.  At first instance, the notice was held valid, on the basis that it was clear what it was meant to achieve.  The landlord has appealed.

How will the court decide?  I think the Court of Appeal will uphold the decision.

Barclays Wealth Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Erimus Housing Ltd [2013] EWHC 2699

Tenants stayed so long in a property after the expiry of the lease, continuing to pay rent, that the court held that a new tenancy – not a tenancy at will – had arisen.  Curiously on the facts this favoured the landlord, as the tenants wanted to leave and found they had to give a significant period of ntoice.   The tenants have appealed.

How will the court decide?  I think the Court of Appeal will overturn the decision and hold that there was only a tenancy at will.  (Actually I’m not nearly as certain in this instance as this makes me sound.)

Peel Land and Property (Ports No 3) Ltd v TS Sheerness Steel Ltd [2013] EWHC 1658 (Ch)

This was the simplest of all cases: were items chattels or fixtures, and if they were fixtures, were they tenant’s fixtures that the tenant could remove at the end of a lease?  The complicating factor was that the premises were a steelworks so the items were all extremely large and difficult to move.   Everything turned on the facts, of course, and Morgan J held that all the items were chattels or at the most tenant’s fixtures, so they could all be removed; also that on the terms of the lease the tenant did not have to leave the machinery in place.  The landlord has appealed.

How will the court decide?  I think the Court of Appeal will uphold Morgan J’s decision.

 

This is only a taster of the property or landlord and tenant cases that will be decided by the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court this year.  Keep watching this space.

 

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