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PropertyWednesday 10 January 2024

High Court grants specific performance of three leasehold options

The Claimant had served valid notices to exercise valuable options in three leases but had omitted to pay the 10% deposits which were due by midnight on the date the Claimant exercised the options.  HHJ Hodge KC (sitting as a High Court Judge) accepted the Claimant’s argument that time was not of the essence for payment of the three deposits.  Whilst it is conventional for time to be of the essence for payment of a deposit under a sale and purchase agreement (see Samarenko v Dawn Hill House Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 1445), the circumstances of this case were sufficient to take it out of the ordinary run of cases. There were two principal reasons: (1) this is not the case of a payment of a deposit on an ordinary contract for the sale and purchase of land, but rather the exercise of a tenant’s option to purchase the landlord’s reversionary interest; and (2) on the true interpretation of the option provisions, time should not be treated as being of the essence for the payment of the deposits.

Alice Hawker was instructed by Freeths and appeared for the successful Claimant.

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