December 2018
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Betty’s Cafe Ltd v Phillips Furnishing Stores Ltd; HL 1958

References: [1959] AC 20, [1958] 1 All ER 607
Coram: Viscount Simonds, Lord Denning, Lord Keith, Lord Morton
On a renewal of a tenancy a landlord’s counter-notice under section 26(6) relied on section 30(1)(f) and (g).
Held: (Lord Keith dissenting) The court was bound to have regard to the position as it was on the date of the order. The landlord must have a ‘firm and settled intention’ as regards the proposed works. The court will in an appropriate case, and having regard to the nature of the proceedings, consider a landlord’s notice to be invalid on the grounds of dishonesty or fraud without recourse to the 1954 Act procedure. The landlord’s notice must state the grounds ‘honestly and truthfully’. The issues as the landlord’s intention are to be tested as at the date of the hearing.
Viscount Simmonds held that the relevant date for proof of the required intention was the date of ‘the hearing’: ‘At the hearing [the landlord] will oppose and prove his avowed intention. This seems to me, with all deference to those who take a different view, to be the plain English of section 26(6) and section 30(1)(f). I have already pointed out that it appears to accord also with the general purpose of the Act. It harmonizes also with the language of section 31(1) which contemplates the landlord satisfying the court upon any of the grounds upon which he is entitled to oppose the application.’
Lord Morton said: ‘Section 26(6) provides that the landlord’s notice of opposition ‘shall state on which of the grounds mentioned in section 30 of this Act the landlord will oppose the application.’ The words ‘will oppose’ must surely refer to some date after the delivery of the notice in which the landlord states the ground on which he ‘will oppose’ the tenant’s application. And, in my view, that date can only be the date when the opposition of the landlord is heard by the High Court or the county court, as the case may be.’
Lord Denning said: ‘Provided, however, that the notice is a good and honest notice when it is given, then it is clear to my mind that the ground stated therein must be established to exist at the time of the hearing . . To succeed [the landlord] must satisfy the trial judge that, at the time when the court comes to make its order, he is then willing to provide alternative accommodation, or then intends to reconstruct, or as the case may be . . In short, it comes to this: the landlord must honestly and truthfully state his ground in his notice and he must establish it as existing at the time of the hearing.’
Statutes: Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
This case cites:

  • Approved – Cunliffe v Goodman CA ([1950] 2 KB 237)
    The court looked the intention required of a landlord to show an intended purpose to oppose renewal of a lease. Asquith LJ said: ‘An ‘intention’ to my mind connotes a state of affairs which the party ‘intending’ – I will call him X – does more than . .
  • Appeal from – Betty’s Cafe Ltd v Phillips Furnishing Stores Ltd CA ([1957] Ch 67)
    The tenant had applied for a new tenancy. The landlord offered to provide suitable accomodation.
    Held: Where the landlord’s offer met the statutory criteria, the court had no jurisdiction to grant a new tenancy. What mattered was the . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Dolgellau Golf Club v Hett CA (Times 24-Apr-98, Bailii, [1998] EWCA Civ 621, [1998] 2 EGLR 75)
    The landlord opposed the renewal of the tenancy saying that it wanted to run a golf club on the land. The tenant replied, saying that the businees had little prospect of success.
    Held: Where the landlord had expressed intention to commence . .
  • Cited – Somerfield Stores Ltd v Spring (Sutton Coldfield) Ltd ChD (Bailii, [2010] EWHC 2084 (Ch), [2010] WLR (D) 231, WLRD, [2011] L & TR 8, [2010] 33 EG 71 (CS), [2010] 47 EG 142)
    The landlord had opposed the renewal of the claimant’s business tenancies saying that it wished to redevelop the sites. Before the matter came to trial, the landlord went into administration, and the tenant sought summary judgment. It now appealed . .

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