The property industry, especially retail, faces challenging times, prompting landlords to explore various options, including redevelopment. Recent court decisions shed light on what landlords must demonstrate to regain possession or insert a break right for Landlord and Tenant Act 1954-protected tenancies. This article analyses two cases highlighting the significance of solid evidence in proving redevelopment intentions and abilities.

In the current tumultuous state of the property industry, particularly in the retail sector, landlords are faced with the need to reconsider all available options, including potential redevelopment. Recent court rulings serve as valuable reminders of what it takes for a landlord to regain possession or establish a break right concerning a Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 protected tenancy.

A recent case, Man Limited v. Back Inn Time Diner Limited [2023] EWHC 363, saw a landlord‘s unsuccessful attempt to oppose the grant of a new lease based on redevelopment grounds. The Court acknowledged the landlord‘s intention to redevelop but found that the landlord failed to provide objective evidence of a realistic plan to implement the redevelopment at the lease‘s end. The absence of planning permission and funding hindered the landlord’s case. Notably, the landlord‘s ongoing appeal against planning consent refusal and the late disclosure of funding evidence contributed to the unfavourable outcome.

In another case, GT Motoring Solutions Ltd & Anr v. Gareth Sinclair Williams & Anr (Unreported, County Court, 9 January 2023), landlords faced a similar setback due to insufficient evidence. The Court deemed the landlords’ intention to demolish and redevelop not firmly settled as their plans had significantly changed over time. The absence of expert evidence supporting the likelihood of obtaining planning permission, along with the failure to demonstrate financing availability and commencement arrangements, further weakened their case.

In B&M Retail Limited v. HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited (Unreported, County Court, 3 March 2023), a landlord‘s failure to serve a counter-notice opposing a new lease request within the specified period led to a creative approach. Instead, the landlord pursued a redevelopment break clause during the subsequent lease renewal proceedings. The Court acknowledged the landlord’s right to pursue redevelopment plans and granted a rolling break clause with a 6-month notice period, although the lease term was set for 5 years, not the 18 months requested by the landlord.

While each case is unique, the outcomes of these recent court decisions underscore the importance of providing substantial evidence when a landlord seeks to establish intentions and capabilities for redevelopment under a Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 protected tenancy. Being organised, transparent, and supported by expert evidence can significantly impact the success of a landlord‘s case in court.

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