Business Tenancies by Liam Connolly

Opposing a New Tenancy – Landlord’s intention to demolish or reconstruct

Generally a tenant of a business lease has a right to renew at the end of the term if they satisfy the criteria set out in section 23 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.  Section 23 specifies:- 

“this Part of this Act applies to any tenancy where the property comprised in the tenancy is or includes premises which are occupied by the Tenant and are so occupied for the purposes of a business carried on by him or for those and other purposes."

Unless the tenant contracts out, there are limited grounds for a landlord to oppose a new lease.  The grounds of opposition can be found at section 30(1) of the Act.  The most common ground is that the landlord requires the land to demolish or reconstruct.  What the landlord must prove to succeed often causes much confusion.

The court ruled in the case of Cunliffe v Goodman that to succeed on this ground a landlord must prove their intention.  The landlord must do more than merely contemplate demolition or reconstruction.  There must instead be a settled intention to proceed.  In addition, the landlord must show that there is a reasonable prospect of achieving their aim (Somerfield Stores –v- Spring (Sutton Coldfield) (No 2)).

It does not matter why a landlord intends to demolish or reconstruct.  What matters is the intention.  This of course opens up a potential examination of whether or not the landlord’s intention is genuine.  A number of factors will have to be considered in determining whether that is the case. 

Do you need advice in relation to grounds of opposition, or in making an application for a new lease?  If so, contact Liam Connolly of Rowberry Morris Solicitors on 0118 958 5611.