Commercial Leases

Mixed-use premises – Covenant not to apply for planning permission without consent – Reasonable refusal of consent

Sequent Nominees Ltd (formerly Rotrust Nominees Ltd) v Hautford Ltd [2019] UKSC 47 (30 October 2019)

We summarised the Court of Appeal decision in our May 2018 edition Commercial Leases Volume 32 Issue 4 at p2533. In a case where the court said that there was no direct authority on reasonableness of a landlord’s refusal of consent to permits its tenant from making an application for planning permission, it upheld the decision of the trial judge to the effect the landlord had unreasonably withheld consent on the footing that it was seeking to achieve a collateral purpose. That purpose was to minimise the risk of enfranchisement. The case was fact-sensitive and depended on the precise facts prevailing at the time when the application for consent was made to the landlord. The words used in the lease, properly construed in context, were also of importance.

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