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a lease break fails because a tenant did not remove extensive partitioning

29 July 2016
Riverside Park Ltd v NHS Property Services Limited is a must-read case. It provides guidance on a variety of issues associated with conditional breaks, including whether certain items are chattels or fixtures, what giving vacant possession means, interpretation of break conditions and reinstatement trigger notices. 

The court found that vacant possession had not been given because extensive partitioning had not been removed. The partitioning was found to be chattel as opposed to a fixture and the court neatly summarises and applies the relevant law. Interestingly however the court found that the tenant was on “stronger ground” in arguing that its failure to remove kitchen units, floor coverings, window blinds, an alarm and water pipes was not breach of the obligation to give vacant possession. The tenant’s failure to remove the partitioning meant vacant possession was not given and the 2013 break option failed.        

The message:  If you are thinking about exercising a break it is crucial you take advice and that you take a cautious view on whether items need to be removed as part of any conditions of the break. 

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