High Court confirms meaning of “intention” in business lease renewals

The legal right that many commercial tenants enjoy to have their leases renewed can be overcome if their landlords ‘intend’ to occupy the premises for their own business or residential purposes. However, as a High Court ruling made clear, the concept of intention involves more than mere tentative contemplation.

The case concerned the tenant of a restaurant whose lease was protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The landlord served notice terminating the lease and opposed the grant of a new tenancy on the basis that he intended to open his own hospitality venue on the premises. Following a preliminary hearing, however, a judge found that he had failed to establish such an intention.

In rejecting the landlord’s appeal against that ruling, the Court noted that the case hinged on Section 30(1)(g) of the Act, which excuses landlords from the usual obligation to renew protected commercial leases if they intend to occupy relevant premises, or part of them, as their residence or for the purpose of themselves carrying on a business.

The court noted that the word “intention” meant more than merely contemplating that a course of action might be desirable. The judge made no error of law and, in considering the landlord’s state of mind, was entitled to find on the evidence that he lacked the firm and settled intention required by Section 30(1)(g).

Macey v Pizza Express (Restaurants) Limited. Case Number: 11BS023C

EmailTwitterFacebookLinkedIn
Disclaimer: Nothing in the Legal Insights section and this blog is intended to provide legal or other professional advice and, if readers are interested, they should consider taking separate legal or other professional advice accordingly.

Rex Cowell

Partner in Property Litigation

E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)845 257 9449