Easements - a warning to landlords

Landlords should be made aware of a recent High Court decision that considered a right to park. The court granted eight tenants in a block of flats an injunction against their landlord, where their leases:

  • Granted each tenant a right to use a designated car parking space.
  • Reserved in the landlord's favour a right to redevelop neighbouring property as it saw fit despite such redevelopment affecting or diminishing light or air enjoyed by the tenants.

The landlord wanted to develop a new building on land which included the car parking spaces that had been granted to the tenants. The landlord claimed that it was entitled to require the tenants to accept alternative car parking spaces in place of those originally allocated. The landlord's contractors fenced off an area that included the tenants' car parking spaces.

The judge was quite dismissive of the landlord's conduct, calling it "high-handed". Although he granted an injunction, the judge stated that he would have assessed damages in lieu of an injunction at £517,500 to be divided between the eight tenants. Whilst this case concerns a right to park, the test and principles discussed are relevant to any other easements.

 

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.