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Landlord and tenant – commercial

CPSE.6 – updated

Property practitioners should note that CPSE.6 (version 1.3) (supplemental pre-contract enquiries for property subject to residential tenancies) has been updated.
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Relief against forfeiture – predictions

In the light of the above case, there is an interesting article analysing it which tried to predict how future cases might be decided.
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Relief against forfeiture – for a licence

 It has long been presumed that only Ts of leases could obtain relief from forfeiture and that a licensee is unable to seek such relief. The SC has just overturned this presumption.
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Agreement for lease – not personal

The HC has recently heard a case involving the restaurant chain Bella Italia. Bella entered into an agreement for lease for premises on a new retail site. An agreement for lease was signed which was subject to various pre-conditions such as planning and licensing. The agreement provided for Bella to lease the premises once constructed. During the construction process the original party to the agreement sold their freehold interest in the premises to another party. Bella purported to rescind the agreement on the grounds that it was entitled to refuse to accept a lease from the subsequent owner as they were not the original contracting party to the agreement for lease.
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L withholding consent to planning permission – reasonable

The SC has considered whether it was reasonable for L to withhold consent for T’s request to obtain planning permission to convert part of a commercial property into self-contained flats. As with many leases, the lease contained a provision that L could not unreasonably withhold consent to an application for planning permission.
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CVAs – guidance on use

We reported in our November 2019 edition (p20) on the recent HC case in which Debenhams successfully used a standard model retail CVA to compromise its future liability for rent and business rates. This has been followed up by an interesting article exploring the decision in more detail and the basis upon which a CVA may be challenged. The grounds of challenge are:
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L changing locks – an act of surrender?

There are various ways in which a leasehold estate in land may come to an end. One of these is surrender by operation of law. Sometimes the surrender of a lease does not take place by deed but is effected by operation of law ie as a result of the actions of the parties. Note that a surrender by operation of law does not take effect following action by T alone. HMLR PG 26 points out that examples of surrender by operation of law might be:
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CVA – use to reduce rent

 If a limited company is insolvent, it can use a CVA to pay creditors over a fixed period. If creditors agree, the limited company can continue trading. The CVA has been used by companies in the retail sector on the high street as a means to try to reduce the cost of expensive leases to enable them to continue trading. CVAs have been used to force a rent reduction, without similar cuts to other creditors. Debenhams attempted to compromise its liability for future rent and business rates using a standard model retail CVA – this was challenged by six of its Ls. They argued that the use of the CVA to effectively reduce rent was unfair and outside the jurisdiction of insolvency law. The HC rejected this view. It is thought that the failure of the challenge to the Debenhams CVAs may lead to an increase in their use in the retail sector.
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Brexit frustration – update

We reported in our April 2019 edition (p27) on the interesting case where the HC had to consider whether potential departure by the UK from the EU was sufficient to satisfy the legal meaning of frustration – so would Brexit allow a party to avoid a contract or a lease?
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LTA 1954 – validity of contracting out

The HC has heard a case concerning a number of leases entered into by The Fragrance Shop and the validity of the procedure for contracting those leases out of Part II of LTA 1954.
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Most-read articles

Civil partnerships – heterosexual couples
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019 are in force as of 2 December 2019 and permit heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships. Read more...
VAT reverse charge – postponed
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A useful article analyses the potential implications of the reverse charge on VAT, which was due to be introduced for specified construction services in October 2019 but which has now been... Read more...
Electronic communications – practitioners beware
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A useful article by Hardwicke Chambers reminds practitioners of the risks of a hasty or ill thought out email or social media post. The writer cites a situation where an email from a solicitor to... Read more...
Jurisdictional challenges – the basics
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
An article considers a recent SC case in which litigants have been criticised for the way in which jurisdictional challenges are being conducted. The case concerned a group of some 1,800 Zambian... Read more...
LiPs – tips for dealing
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Litigants in person (LiPs) are on the increase due in part to legal aid cuts and an increase in the small claims limit. Maintaining the balance of treating LiPs fairly, while also acting in the best... Read more...
‘Elevation’ – front and rear of building
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A 99-year lease contained a covenant prohibiting T from making any alterations to the elevation or external decoration of the property. Read more...
L changing locks – an act of surrender?
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
There are various ways in which a leasehold estate in land may come to an end. One of these is surrender by operation of law. Sometimes the surrender of a lease does not take place by deed but is... Read more...
Beneficial ownership – reminder of key points
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Practitioners who advise co-owners on the acquisition of property will find a recent article reviewing the case law on beneficial ownership very useful. The key points are: Read more...
Sanctions – vexatious litigant
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
In long-running divorce and financial remedy proceedings, R was found to be an ‘exceptionally vexatious litigant’ throughout. Mostyn J made a general civil restraint order and a protection from... Read more...
Disciplinary process – external bodies
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A useful article considers two recent cases on the issues that can arise for employers carrying out a disciplinary procedure when an external body becomes involved eg a regulatory body, police, a... Read more...

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