Q: I run a small café from rented premises and have done so for the last 15 years without any problems. However my landlord now tells me he intends to demolish and redevelop the property and wants me out and has given me notice. Can he do this?
A: Under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (the Act) there is a statutory right to renew the lease provided that the tenant is in occupation for the purposes of his business at the relevant time and that the lease falls within the Act’s renewable provisions.
Your landlord can oppose such a renewal, but only in certain circumstances. These are set out in the Act. A landlord can refuse the grant of a new lease if he has a firm and settled intention to reconstruct, redevelop, or demolish the premises. This is commonly referred to as “ground (f)” because it derives from S30(1)(f) of the Act.
Your landlord must establish the necessary intention, and that there is a reasonable prospect of achieving that intention. Whilst this is not an easy task, once the required intention is shown the Court has no discretion and must refuse to grant a new tenancy.
In such a case S37 of the Act requires the tenant to be compensated for losing the value of the business premises. Compensation is calculated by applying a multiplier to the rateable value of the property. 1x rateable value, or double the rateable value if there has been occupation for the purposes of the same business for 14 years or more. You may lose the right to statutory compensation if you vacate the property before termination of the lease.
The procedural requirements in this process are very strict and you should consult a solicitor for advice on any possible challenges you could raise if your landlord has not followed the procedures correctly.