Two recent cases have highlighted the importance to a tenant of ensuring that its break notice is served on the correct party or parties, as provided for in the break and/or notices clauses in its lease. Failure to do so can render the break notice invalid and mean that the lease will continue beyond the break date.
Hotgroup Plc v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc  EWHC 1241
Tenants must always be certain of who they are to serve their break notice on, as it may not be only the landlord.
Standard Life Investments Property Holdings Ltd v W&J Linney Ltd 2010 All ER (D) 220 (Jul)
The definition of ‘Landlord’ in Linney’s lease included, as well as the landlord named in the lease, the person entitled to the reversion for the time being and that definition was to apply unless the context required otherwise. In the context of service of a break notice, the Court considered that the ‘Landlord’ meant the holder of the current reversion, in receipt of the rental income, and in this case Standard Life would have been the correct party on which to serve the break.
Tenants must always check the current holder of the reversionary title and ensure that notice is served on that party, remembering that this may be in addition to or instead of the named ‘Landlord’ in the lease. The ownership may have changed since the lease was granted and so up to date official copies of the reversionary title should always be obtained from the Land Registry and checked against paperwork such as rent demands before a tenant serves a notice.
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