Supreme Court judgment: Duval v 11-13 Randolph Crescent Ltd
In what will become a leading landlord & tenant case, the Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in Duval v 11-13 Randolph Crescent Ltd.  UKSC 18 (6 May 2020).
The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the landlord’s appeal and agreed with Dr Duval (one of the building’s lessees) that the building’s leases meant that her landlord could not authorise structural works since (a) those works would necessarily breach an absolute covenant against the ‘cutting and maiming’ of walls; and (b) each of the building’s other leases contained clauses entitling the lessees to require their landlord to prevent such breaches by taking enforcement action. Dr Duval’s case was that, in agreeing to prevent breaches of covenants (if asked), the landlord had necessarily agreed that it would not put it out of its power to comply with such a request, if one was made. The Supreme Court’s decision approved Lewison LJ’s judgment in the Court of Appeal.
As the clauses concerned are standard to most leases of blocks of flats, there has been great interest in the property press. The decision will cause some landlords to consider their policies before consenting to tenant alterations.
The Supreme Court judgment can be found here.