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Lawbite: The Lease Renewal Pilot Scheme in practice

  • United Kingdom
  • Litigation and dispute management
  • Real estate
  • Real estate dispute resolution

18-02-2020

Eventuate Capital Ltd v Grosvenor Estate Belgravia (E02CL652)

The County Court and First-tier Tribunal Unopposed Business Lease Renewal Pilot Scheme has been in place for over 2 years but very few cases have, as yet, proceeded to trial. In one of the first unopposed lease renewal claims to do so, the Court appointed a valuer as assessor to assist with determining the level of rent payable under the new lease and interim rent.

The Claimant sought a rent of £27,500 per annum, but called no expert evidence in support of that figure. The Defendant, relying on expert evidence, sought a rent of £53,560, which was accepted by the Court.

Interestingly, the parties were not notified in advance of the identity and role of the assessor on the basis that it would be prohibitively expensive for the Court to incur this cost, as the majority of cases in the pilot scheme settle shortly before the trial.

Despite the parties receiving no notification of her appointment, the parties consented to the appointment and the Court was invited to make suitable directions to clarify her role in the evaluation of the valuation expert evidence and to permit the parties to comment on advice given by her.

An order was made at the hearing that neither party should bear the cost of the assessor’s remuneration for sitting, disapplying the ordinary rule that the costs be in the proceedings.

Key points

  • the pilot scheme contemplates that the Court will appoint an assessor to assist in determining the terms of the new lease but this case indicates that parties may not be notified in advance of the name, qualifications or the matter in respect of which assessor is sought
  • the case further indicates that many of the cases which have proceeded through the pilot scheme have settled shortly before the trial – which is arguably not dissimilar to the position in those unopposed lease renewal claims proceeding outside of the pilot
  • it is possible that parties may not always be ordered to bear the costs of the assessor

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