High Court gives much needed guidance on withholding consent to assign a lease unreasonably.
The tenant wanted to assign its leasehold interests in several flats. This required the landlord’s consent, not to be unreasonably withheld. The Landlord gave three reasons, one of which was held to be unreasonable (payment of its in-house legal fees), thus tainting the overall decision as being unreasonable.
Lessons? Landlords should ensure each of their grounds of a refusal to consent are reasonable, or that there is evidence that each reason is separate from the others. Otherwise, they risk the bad reason tainting the rest, and be susceptible to challenge.
The case? No.1 West India Quay (Residential) Ltd v East Tower Apartments Ltd  EWHC 2438
Landlords who give multiple reasons for refusing to consent to an assignment of a lease should ensure all the reasons are reasonable, or that there is evidence that each reason is separate from the others, or they risk the refusal being treated as unreasonable.