Landlord entitled to refuse tenancy to ‘unreasonable’ retailers

A court has ruled that a landlord was within his rights to refuse to renew tenancies to shopkeepers who had pestered him with frivolous lawsuits.

The issue arose because over several years, the shopkeepers had brought a total of 10 claims against the landlord saying that he had obstructed their rights of way and their entitlement to parking spaces.

The court heard that the shopkeepers had maintained a relentless campaign of litigation despite receiving legal advice that they should not pursue the claims. They changed solicitors and ran up legal bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

They made allegations of fraud against the landlord, which proved to have no basis whatsoever.

When their tenancies expired, the landlord refused to renew.

The shopkeepers took legal action claiming the refusal to renew was not related to their management of the premises and so was therefore not allowed under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The judge ruled that the relationship between the landlord and tenants had completely broken down and that there seemed to be little chance of the litigation ending.

He held that it wouldn’t be right to force the landlord to accept the behaviour of the tenants. Litigation against a landlord was not necessarily an acceptable reason to refuse to renew a tenancy, but it was in this case.

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