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Amongst other things, the Court was asked to decide whether the landlord had unreasonably delayed giving its consent to the assignment.When a tenant applies for landlord’s consent to alienation, an important piece of legislation can come to their aid.
There had been delays by Gilesports and their solicitors in dealing with the application process.
The court referred to established case law, which indicates that the “reasonable period”, within which a landlord may consider an application, may be measured in weeks rather than months.
Decision Whilst the lease did not contain a requirement on the landlord not to unreasonably withhold consent, statutory provisions provide that a landlord owes a duty to grant consent within a reasonable time, except in circumstances where it is not reasonable to do so.
In order to trigger this duty notice must be served on a landlord by the tenant applying for consent.
When the group company was sold to a third party, it was agreed that the lease should also be formally assigned.
The tenant made an application to the superior landlord by email but failed to make an application to the landlord until some time later.
Despite this, the court also considered whether the landlord in this case had in fact unreasonably delayed giving consent.
Gilesports’ solicitors had never indicated that the application was an urgent one.
The lease in this case contained comparatively standard provisions for service of notices, requiring that any notice must be in writing and served on the party to whom it is addressed, either by hand or by registered post.
Because the Gilesports’ application for consent had been made by e-mail, to the landlord’s agent, this did not satisfy the requirements for service of the application, so section 1 did not apply.