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Business lease – alterations – break notice – chattels – tenant’s fixtures – vacant possession

Commercial Leases

Business lease – alterations – break notice – chattels – tenant’s fixtures – vacant possession

Riverside Park Limited v NHS Property Services Limited [2016] EWHC 1313 (Ch) (HHJ Saffman sitting as a judge of the Chancery Division) (27 July 2016)

This is yet another break clause case where the judge was required to construe the lease and a licence for alterations in order to determine whether internal partitioning installed and erected by the tenant but left in the premises at the break date amounted to a failure to give vacant possession of the premises as required by the terms of the option to break. The judge held that the partitions were chattels as they were demountable and capable of being removed without injury to themselves or to the fabric of the demised premises. They had not been removed by the tenant at the end of the term and were found to be an impediment which deprived the landlord of physical enjoyment of the premises. The judge held that the tenant had not given vacant possession and thus the conditions of the option to break had not been met with the consequence that the lease continued in force.

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