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landlord’s right to erect scaffolding on retail premises

25 July 2014

In Century Projects Ltd v Almacantar (Centre Point) Ltd, the tenant ran a high class restaurant at the top of Centre Point Tower with panoramic views over London.  The landlord proposed to erect scaffolding shrouded by sheets, which the tenant believed would have a devastating effect on its business, wanting the landlord to use workmen operating from cradles instead.

It is established law that a landlord’s right to keep property in repair runs alongside the tenant’s right to occupy without disturbance from the landlord, but neither of those rights takes precedence over the other.  In the Centre Point case the question was – how far does a landlord have to go in taking reasonable steps to avoid disturbing their tenant’s occupation?

Here, the case was an application for an interlocutory injunction, ie to stop the landlord erecting scaffolding pending the outcome of the trial.  This was refused as the judge felt it unlikely the tenant would be able to show the landlord was being unreasonable, as the landlord had thoroughly investigated other methods of carrying out the work.

Whilst this is a reminder that tenants have general rights under the principle that a landlord should not ‘derogate from grant’ (give rights to occupy with one hand and remove the benefit of those rights with the other), it is better to avoid the cost and uncertainty of litigation by ensuring adequate protections are built into the lease from the outset.

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