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Landlord inadvertently gives tenant security of tenure

Our client ran a venue that was popular for Asian weddings. He was approached by another person who wanted to partition off a section of the venue to create a nightclub. 

The two parties created their own agreement which the venue owner optimistically referred to as a “licence”. In reality the venue owner had granted the new nightclub operator a lease and the parties were now in a “Landlord & Tenant” relationship. However, the agreement was so ambiguous about the tenant’s rights that it effectively gave the nightclub ‘security of tenure’ while ignoring the rights of the landlord.  The nightclub went on to disregard opening times and security requirements, with the police being called on numerous occasions. Eventually the situation became so serious that it placed the landlord’s business in jeopardy.

The Landlord turned to Lawson-West for help. Fortunately by this stage the tenant had stopped paying rent so we arranged for the forfeiture of the lease and took occupation of the nightclub. Due to the ambiguous nature of the initial agreement the Landlord had no choice but to allow the nightclub access to the premises. However through negotiation the tenant was forced to accept a formal lease with tight conditions on opening and security. The nightclub was quickly in breach of this formal lease and on this occasion our client was able to successfully and legitimately forfeit the lease, close the nightclub and fully re-occupy the building.

Any agreement with a tenant concerning property needs to protect the landlord, and a properly drafted lease is a powerful weapon should problems arise, as in this example.

For more information or help, please contact Richard Tomlinson at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.

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