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Reichman V. Beveridge Notes

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REICHMAN V. BEVERIDGE FACTS The defendants were in practice together as solicitors in partnership, under the style Beveridge Gauntlett. They had offices in Yateley, Hampshire, which they held as tenants under a lease dated 30 August 2000 from the claimants as landlords, for a term of five years from 26 January 2000. For reasons which do not matter for present purposes, they ceased to practise as solicitors in February 2003 and had no further need for the offices. They did not pay the rent due on 25 March 2003, or thereafter, nor the water rates due after that date. In January 2004 the claimants sued for the arrears due up to then, seeking only a money judgment for the sums due. Mr Gauntlett, the second defendant, served a defence in which, among other things, he said that the claimants had failed to mitigate loss arising from any non-payment of rent. He said that the claimants were fully aware of the plight of the defendants which led to their ceasing to practise as solicitors, "but failed to forfeit the lease in order to mitigate their own loss". The first defendant took the same point in her defence. QUESTION Whether it is necessary as a matter of law for a landlord to mitigate his loss when seeking to recover arrears of rent. HOLDING Mitigation does not strictly apply - White & Carter analogous to mitigation There is no doubt that, where a party to a lease seeks to recover damages from the other for breach of covenant under the lease, the rules about mitigation of loss will apply. However, Mr Gauntlett seeks to go further than that, and to establish that the same rule applies even if the landlord does not terminate the lease for breach of the tenant's covenants, but merely sues for each instalment of rent as it falls due. This proposition is not, in truth, part of the principles relating to mitigation of damages properly so called, which apply only if the claim is for damages. The landlord's claim for rent is in debt and the rule does not apply to a claim in debt: see Jervis v Harris [1996]
Ch 195. The principle to which Mr Gauntlett seeks to have recourse is, however, analogous to the doctrine of mitigation of loss: see McGregor on Damages 17th ed (2003), para 7-030. It is based on words of Lord Reid in his speech in White and Carter (Councils) Ltd v McGregor [1962] AC 413, 431. Survey of cases applying the White & Carter Principle

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