Bill Hanbury case provides important guidance on Landlord and Tenant Act

 Bill Hanbury from Exchange Chambers has successfully acted in a case providing important guidance on key provisions in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

The case involved former Grand National Winner and horse racing trainer, Richard Guest.

In Oliver Ryan Wheeler Kent v Richard Charles Guest, Bill Hanbury acted for the claimant, Mr Kent, who was the landlord of Ingmanthorpe Racing Stables in Wetherby.

Mr Kent acquired his title subject to an existing “arrangement” and shortly thereafter granted two 12 month leases to racing trainer, Mr Guest, who, as the tenant, occupied the stables for his business. Unfortunately, the second 12 month lease had not been contracted out of the 1954 Act.

Mr Kent served a section 25 notice relying on grounds 30 (1) (a) and (c) of the 1954 Act on the grounds that the premises had been allowed to fall  into disrepair and other breaches of obligations in the tenancy agreement.

A secondary issue, which only arose if the decisions under section 30 (1) (a) and (c) went against the landlord, was whether the new dwelling house in the course  of construction on the land shown on the lease as being  demised to the tenant was in fact part of that demise. As it was pleaded in the defendant’s counterclaim, it was dealt with in the judgment.

The judge (Recorder Nolan QC) found both grounds of opposition to be made out and refused a new tenancy. He found Mr Guest in breach of numerous obligations in the lease including the repairing obligation and rejected his evidence that the premises were in no worse state than when they were let.  He also found that the dwelling house referred to had not formed part of the demised premises despite being shown on the lease plan.

Commenting on the judgment, Bill Hanbury said:

“The case is of interest to practitioners because sections 30 (1) (a) and (c) of the 1954 Act, which deal with discretionary grounds of opposition where the tenant is in breach of his repairing obligations in the lease or other lease terms, are rarely considered in practice.

“The case clearly sets out the process the court needs to go through to exercise its discretion and grant and allow the landlord’s grounds of opposition to succeed and refuse the tenant a new tenancy. The case is also of interest as despite the fact that the lease plan showed the property as including land on which a dwelling house was constructed by the landlord, and as to which the reserved a right to construct, nevertheless the land was held by the judge not to include the dwelling house in the course of construction by the landlord during the demise.”

Bill Hanbury was instructed by Michael Thomas of Ware and Kay Solicitors.

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