Area(s) of Law :
Source : EWCA Civ 499
Landlord & Tenant
Leasehold Enfranchisement; Individual Lease Renewal; Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
Howard de Walden Estates Ltd v Les Aggio & others; Earl Cadogan & Cadogan Estates Ltd v 26 Cadogan Square Ltd  EWCA Civ 499
The head lessees of residential properties wished to exercise the right of individual lease renewal pursuant to section 56 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (“the Act”), on the basis that they were ‘qualifying tenants’ within the meaning of the Act. The freeholders of the properties objected and denied that the provisions applied. The court at first instance, following the decision in Maurice v Hollow-Ware Products Ltd  2 EGLR 71, ruled in favour of the head lessees and the freeholders appealed.
Held: Lady Justice Arden, giving the leading judgment in the Court of Appeal accepted that the case was one which ‘…pushe[d] at the boundaries of statutory interpretation’. In reversing the decisions of the lower courts, she discussed the difficulties that would arise when separating the flats from the common parts, and the absence of any provisions in the legislation to deal with this. She concluded that the freeholders would be left with such a striking burden were intermediate lessees permitted to exercise the right, that they could not be so entitled without that clearly being laid down by the statute, which it was not. Further, although the court did not find it necessary to decide this, it was suggested that such a right might be incompatible with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights as to quality of law.