Be Careful What You Agree!


A case involving a dispute over the tenancy under various leases of industrial units in East Sussex, which were used for the preparation of airline meals, illustrates the importance of being careful what you agree to.

Although the circumstances were rather convoluted, the nub of the issue was that due to planning issues surrounding the smell created by the tenant’s business, it was unclear whether the tenant would be able to remain in occupation of the buildings.
Although the tenant wished to remain where it was, it claimed to have sent to the landlord notices to terminate the leases. The landlord claimed not to have received them. The tenant also sought out alternative premises, which it let on a weekly basis, in case the planning decision went against it.
The tenant claimed that the landlord had agreed verbally to grant three-year leases on some of the units. The landlord claimed no such agreement was reached.
Reviewing the contemporaneous evidence, such as correspondence and board minutes, the court was able to conclude that the three-year leases had been created.
In this instance, there was copious supporting documentation, which is by no means always the case. One point that is clear is that if documents are being created on which it may be necessary to rely, it is important to send these to the other party to the negotiation in a form which confirms they have been delivered.
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Partner Note
Hutchison and Others v B&DF Ltd. [2008] EWHC 2286 (Ch). See

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