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Lease Covenants Notes

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Revision: Land

A valid lease must: 1) Comply with the necessary formalities; and 2) Be certain as to the identity of the landlord, tenant, the property to be demised, the term, the commencement expiration dates and any consideration Express Covenants Landlord:
? Quiet Enjoyment: Covenant not to interfere with the tenant's possession or enjoyment of the property o

E.g. erection of scaffolding was a breach in Owen v Gadd; intimidating the tenant in Kenny v Preen was also a breach - but failing to adequately soundproof a flat (Southwark LBC v Mills) was not


Protection from Eviction Act 1977 -harassment and unlawful eviction of residential tenants are criminal offences

? To Insure: If a landlord is able to recover insurance premiums or a proportionate part, there is usually a reciprocal landlord's covenant to insure
? To Repair: Often where the tenant has covenanted to pay its proportion of the costs of repairing the whole building (service charge)
? To Enforce Covenants in Other Leases in the Same Building Tenant:
? To Pay Rent o

Usual to treat other monetary payments (e.g. insurance premiums) as rent so that the landlord can use the particular remedies for rent recovery


Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, a written covenant to pay rent is construed as requiring payment in arrears


Usually payable quarterly in advance on the "usual quarter days"



1 Revision: Land

[LEASES: COVENANTS]Rent continues to be payable even though the premises cannot be used (e.g. if destroyed in fire)o

In exceptional cases doctrine of frustration could in principle apply

Rent review: must be express as there is no implied right to call for a review

? Repair: there will usually be express provisions stipulating who has the obligation to repair o

But: statutory provisions relating to repair - e.g. s11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 imposes repairing obligations on a landlord


Ambit of repairing covenant: usually tenant must keep premises in the condition in which they would be kept by a reasonably minded owner - but a covenant to repair DOES NOT require renewal of the whole or substantially the whole property


Distinction between repair and renewal is a question of degree o

Lurcott v Wakely: Front external wall of a house had to be rebuiltbut this was classed as repair as it was the result of old age - tenant was liable


Lister v Lane: rotting timber resulted in house being condemned - CA held that tenant was not liable - 'a covenant to repair ... is not a covenant to give back a different thing from that which the tenant took when he entered into the covenant'


Consider the cost of the works in relation to the value of the property o

Ravenseft v Davstone: Necessary work only affected a trivial part of the building - thus falling within the ambit of the covenant


Contrast: Brew Brothers Ltd v Snax: Necessary underpinning works cost PS8,000 - and the whole building was valued at between PS7.500PS9,500 - here the work did NOT fall within the scope of the covenant


Restrictive interpretation of 'repair' in Quick v Taff - no disrepair where there was condensation but no actual damage to the fabric of the building

2 Revision: Land


There may be a clause exempting tenant from liability for 'fair wear and tear' : but the tenant must nevertheless do repairs to prevent further consequential damage: Regis Property v Dudley

? Alienation: assignment (parting with the whole - assignee drops out of the picture) and sub-letting (creation of a sub-lease of all or part of the demised property - original tenant retains a reversion) o

No implied restriction on alienation - thus it must be expressly imposed


Construction: will be construed in favour of the tenant - so that:A covenant vs. sub-letting the whole does not prohibit sub-letting of part (Wilson v Rosenthal)A covenant vs. assignment doesn't prohibit sub-letting (Church v Brown)But if the aggregate of individual sub-lettings amounts to disposal of the whole, there will be a breach


Qualified covenant: Covenant may be qualified by a requirement for the landlord's consentS19(1) Landlord and Tenant Act 1927: consent shall not be unreasonably withheldS144 LPA 1925: landlord has no right to demand payment of a 'fine' for his consentIf the landlord refuses unreasonable - the tenant may:*

Assign regardless (risky in case landlord is found to be reasonable)


Apply to the court for a declaration that the landlord is being unreasonable


Sue under the LTA 1988 (statutory duty not to refuse consent unreasonably)

Midland Bank v Chart Enterprises: if there were suspicious circumstances then the landlord would be entitled to take time to investigate - but here there were no reasonable grounds for delayEastern Telegraph v Dent: if the tenant assigns without seeking consent then he is in breach even if the landlord could not reasonably have withheld consent


It is for the court to decide whether refusal is unreasonable (s19(1) LTA 1927) 3

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