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Ground (c)

Use or management

Flouting the law at the premises

Fowles v Heathrow Airport Ltd
[2008] EWCA Civ 1270

Facts

This was an application for a new lease. L objected on the ground set out in s30(1)(c), which states:
    “that the tenant ought not to be granted a new tenancy in view of other substantial breaches by him of his obligations under the current tenancy, or for any other reason connected with the tenant's use or management of the holding”
The trial judge found that T had been in flagrant and persistent breaches of planning control some of which at least amounted to the commission of criminal offences and refused to order the grant of a new lease. T appealed.

The appeal

In Turner & Bell v Searles (Stanford-le-Hope) Ltd [1977] 33 P & CR 208 it was held that "the last part of that paragraph, the last fifteen words, have been held by the courts to include the tenant’s use of the holding for an unlawful purpose".

In this case T sought to argue that even if he would "continue to commit criminal offences under a new tenancy granted by the court, that is an irrelevant factor in the exercise of the section 30(1)(c) discretion." The submission was made that it was "only if the renewal of the tenancy necessarily involves a criminal offence in the use of the land that such a prospect becomes a relevant consideration."

The decision

The submission was rejected as "virtually unarguable; it is contrary to common sense, given the broad language of paragraph (c) of section 30(1) and it is contrary to the Turner & Bell decision." T was someone who had "constantly flouted both planning control and the criminal law". The judge was entitled to exercise the discretion in the way that he did. Indeed "it would have been perverse for the court to have ordered the respondent to grant the new tenancy to the appellant" (Lawrence Collins LJ, para 27). The appeal was dismissed.


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