Section 30(1)(f) Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 – Supreme Court Judgment
This appeal considered the construction of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. It specifically considered whether a landlord which intends to carry out works if, and only if, those works are necessary to satisfy s 30(1)(f), and which offers an undertaking to carry out those works in the form of the undertaking given by the respondent in the present case, has the requisite intention for the purposes of ground (f). It also considered whether a landlord whose sole or predominant commercial objective is to undertake works in order to fulfil ground (f) and thereby avoid the grant of a new lease to the tenant, and which offers an undertaking to carry out those works in the form of an undertaking given in the present case, has the requisite intention for the purposes of ground (f).
The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal, finding that ground (f) cannot be invoked. The Court considered that ground (f) requires a firm and settled intention to carry out the scheme of works and that the landlord’s purpose or motive is immaterial except to test whether the intention required by section 30(1)(f) exists. The Court held that the reason why the landlord’s approach cannot satisfy ground (f) was not merely the conditionality of its intention to do the proposed works, but the nature of the condition. Because ground (f) assumes that the landlord’s intention to demolish or reconstruct the premises is obstructed by the tenant’s occupation, the landlord’s intention to carry out the works cannot be conditional on whether the tenant chooses to assert his claim to a new tenancy. The intention to demolish or reconstruct the premises must exist independently of the tenant’s statutory claim to a new tenancy. The Court concluded that the entire value of the proposed scheme lay in removing the tenant and not in any benefit to be derived from reconstruction itself, and as such ground (f) could not be invoked.