Real Estate Tip of the Week: Can a periodic tenancy be inferred from the conduct of the parties?

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Real Estate Tip of the Week: Can a periodic tenancy be inferred from the conduct of the parties?

Published 1 April 2019

The recent High Court decision in WOWW Ltd & Ors v Gani & Anor [2018] EWHC 3550 (Ch) highlights the risks of failing to properly document a tenancy.

The Claimants operated a business out of premises owned by the Defendants. The Claimants alleged, amongst other things, that a periodic tenancy had arisen as a result of the conduct of the parties.

The Judge considered that there was sufficient evidence to infer that a periodic tenancy had arisen. In particular:

  1. Rent was invoiced and paid on a periodic basis;
  2. The Claimants had had a long period of exclusive possession (a number of years);
  3. There was no other reason for the payment of rent;
  4. There was no evidence of negotiations which might indicate that no tenancy was intended to be established;
  5. There was no intention to contract out of Part II of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (“1954 Act”);
  6. There was a demand by the Defendants for an increase in rent which was accepted by the Claimants; and
  7. There was evidence of a shared understanding on the basis of the Claimants’ occupation.

Because a periodic tenancy was created, it was protected by the 1954 Act.

The case underlines the importance of ensuring that all occupations are properly documented. This situation could have been easily avoided if the landlord had granted an excluded tenancy.

Authors

Helen Wills

Helen Wills

Bristol

+44 (0)117 918 2213

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