Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

Tenancy at will — Barclays Wealth Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Erimus Housing Ltd

By Cassandra Cartwright

The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court decision that a tenant, which remained in occupation of commercial premises after its contracted-out lease had expired, did so on the basis of an implied annual periodic tenancy. Instead, says the Court of Appeal, it was a tenancy at will.

Key points

  • The negotiations between the landlord and tenant for a replacement lease were without any urgency or impetus. However, because those negotiations were never actually abandoned, the Court of Appeal was willing to find that the parties always intended that a new lease would actually be entered into.
  • Once the tenant announced an intention to vacate the premises, it was inappropriate for the court to find that a need for security of tenure arose at that point, to cover the period to the tenant’s proposed departure date.
  • The continuing nature of the lease negotiations and a joint intention that a new lease be granted — until such time as one of the parties changed their mind — meant that the tenant’s occupation was as a tenant at will.
  • This would be the case particularly where it was intended that the new lease itself be contracted out of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Wragge & Co briefing.

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