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Presumption of reality
Time of essence
Rent review notices

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Time of essence

The leading case

Starmark Enterprises Ltd v CPL Distribution Ltd
[2001] EWCA Civ 1252

The normal presumption in rent review cases that time is not of the essence can be displaced if there is a clear contraindication in the wording of the rent review clause. A deeming provision, which expresses a clear intention as to the consequences of a partys failure to comply with a prescribed timetable, will make time of the essence. In this case the lease stated that if the tenants failed to serve a counter-notice within one month they shall be deemed to have agreed to pay the increased rent specified in the rent notice. (Mecca Leisure Ltd (1984) 49 P&CR 12 not followed.)

Time successfully made of the essence

First Property Growth Partnership LP v Royal & Sun Alliance Property Services Ltd
[2002] EWCA Civ 1687


The lease required L's trigger notice to be given at any time not more than 12 months before the expiration of each of any of the following years of the said term that is to say every fifth year thereof but not any other time. The lease commenced on 7 May 1975. In April 2001 L purported to serve a notice to take effect as from 7 May 2000.


The highlighted words made time of the essence. The notice could only have been served between 7 May 1999 and 6 May 2000. It was therefore invalid.

Implying a time limit

Barclays Bank plc v Savile Estates Ltd
[2002] EWCA Civ 589


Rent review clause provided that L only could apply to the RICS for determination of rent in default of agreement. There was no express time limit imposed. L therefore objected when T tried to make time of essence.


It was necessary to imply a term imposing a time limit within which the L was to apply i.e. within a reasonable time. Once there was such a time limit T could make time of the essence. The implication was necessary for business efficacy; otherwise T would be left in a state of uncertainty, which would be ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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