18 April 2014
Casual occupation proves costly for tenant
When a housing association stayed on in its offices for nearly three years after the lease had run out, trouble loomed when it decided to vacate them.
The tenant had no legal right to remain in the building, but had continued to pay the rent and other charges as set out in the lease. The premises were therefore occupied on what is called a periodic tenancy. The dispute that arose between the landlord and tenant was over what the correct period of notice was for vacating the premises. That in turn depended on the legal form of the implied tenancy.
The matter came before the High Court and the judge ruled that the tenancy had become an 'implied annual tenancy'. The downside of this for the housing association was that, because of the particular facts of the case, it was required to give 13 months' notice and was liable for rent and service charges of more than £180,000.
The case is scheduled for appeal, but no matter what the outcome, the message for tenants and their landlords is that when a lease is expiring, it is sensible to take advice in advance to make sure your legal position is protected as far as is possible.