Art Is To Be Enjoyed Quietly

In Timothy Taylor V Mayfair House Corporation [2016], a lessee who ran a high quality art gallery in Mayfair succeeded in it’s claim that the landlord was carrying out refurbishment works to the building which were in breach of its lease covenant for quiet enjoyment.  In this respect, the design of the scaffolding, the noise and the failure to inform, consult or compensate the gallery was found to be unreasonable.

The gallery had been virtually cocooned by the sheeted scaffold, such that it was all but invisible to passers-by. The lessee said that its potential clients had also been deterred, by the noise of the building works.

The Judge found  that the way in which the scaffolding had been provided paid insufficient, if any, regard to the interests of the tenant, which had also not been kept informed about the extent of the works and though the landlords had a right to do works, he did not consider they had exercised their right reasonably.

The Court awarded the gallery a rent rebate of £100,000.00 per year and damages equivalent to 20 per cent of the rent from the date of the judgment until the scaffolding is removed and the noisy works subside.

The lesson here, is that the landlord’s reserved right to build does not entitle  him to trample over the tenant’s rights and a landlord who does not consult fully or offer to ameliorate losses is likely to have to satisfy a high bar of reasonableness if it is to avoid a liability to his tenant.

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