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Landlord & Tenant

Thomas has acted in commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes throughout his career. Topics include the following.

Lease renewals

Thomas has acted on opposed renewals for institutional and private landlords and tenants, ranging from securing possession of 60 London Wall from dozens of tenants, acting for TFL in connection with the redevelopment of Covent Garden tube station, and acting for a hairdressing salon in Kensington seeking to resist a ground (f) claim. An interesting recent case in the Court of Appeal concerned a lease renewal opposed on grounds (a), (b) and (c): Youseffi v Mussellwhite. He has acted on numerous unopposed renewals where issues have arisen as to lease terms including break clauses, lease length, and rent including for Mapeley as agent for the VOA. He has lectured several times in the last few years on ground (g).

Rent review

Thomas has acted in cases concerning construction of rent review clauses, application of  assumptions, rental disputes, and challenges to arbitration awards. He is co-author with John Male QC of “Rent Review, a casebook” published by the RICS.

Dilapidations

A regular part of his practice, although most disputes settle. He acted for the successful tenant in Fitzpatrick v Exel Holdings, where it was held that identical obligations in lease and sub-lease had different effects. His most unusual case concerned a Victorian water powered lift.

Service charge and management disputes

Regular advice on service charge issues for commercial and residential property. Thomas acted for the successful tenants in a five day dispute with Freshwater over the reasonableness of the costs of a £2m major works contract to a block of flats in north London. He appeared for the successful tenants in a dispute as to whether sums payable by them as members of the management company were were variable service charges within the definition in s18 of the 1985 Act:63 Rope Street. He has acted for a tenant owned management company resisting the appointyment of a manager, and recently acted for the owner of a mixed use development resisting an application to vary the leases of the residential flats: 48 Featherstone Street, London EC1.

Other

Disputes concerning lease or licence, accretion, forfeiture, consents, break clauses (such as Intergraph (UK) Ltd v Wolfson Microelectronics Plc and Royal Bank of Canada v Secretary of State for Defence), the effect of an oral lease for longer than the head lease (Parc Battersea v Hutchinson)  and enforcement of covenants. He acted for the tenant of Royal Mint Court, an extensive office development, in resisting attempts by Delancey to forfeit an intermediate lease. Recently he acted for the landlord enforcing a £5m rent claim against a guarantor which sought to allege an implied surrender: Padwick Properties v Punj Lloyd Ltd.