Supreme Court bolsters tenant rights
05 December 2018
If a landlord has firm redevelopment plans which it genuinely intends to implement and has the means and the benefit of all statutory consents required to do so,it should - pursuant to the ground of opposition set out in Article 12 (1)(f) of the Business Tenancies (NI) Order 1996 - be in a position to successfully oppose the grant of a new tenancy to any tenant whose occupation would stand in the way of that redevelopment.
The position has, however, been complicated by a landmark decision of the Supreme Court handed down on 5th December 2018. In S Franses Ltd v The Cavendish Hotel (London) Ltd, a landlord could not succeed if the only reason for its proposed development was to get rid of its tenant. In other words the test is whether, if its tenant were to leave voluntarily, would the landlord still intend to carry out the works in question?
As such a landlord whose main aim is to get rid of a tenant should be wary of citing the redevelopment ground of opposition if such works would not be implemented should the tenant go of its own accord. The scenarios when this decision may come into play may be limited as few landlords may countenance carrying out expensive works simply to frustrate a tenant’s right to renew, but nevertheless it is another hoop through which a landlord may have to jump to successfully oppose a new tenancy.