In a recent High Court case the scope of broadly worded rights of entry reserved to a landlord under a lease were considered.
The Landlord had retained ownership of neighbouring land and in the process of developing it, wished to install bat monitoring devices on the land he had leased to his Tenants. The leases had reserved to the Landlord very broadly worded rights of entry: "for all reasonable purposes" and "inspecting... making roads... and any other purposes connected with his estate". Notwithstanding the reservations, the Tenant's had refused access. The Landlord obtained a temporary injunction to gain access which it then applied to make permanent.
The court held that the Landlord did have the right to erect the bat boxes. Although, ultimately, an extension to the injunction was refused, being regarded as unnecessary now that the extent of the Landlord's rights had been clarified. The Judge stressed that the "irreducible minimum" of rights granted to the Tenant cannot be eroded except where the lease sets out express and very clear limitations on the Tenant's rights.
Though the Landlord ultimately got what he wanted, this case highlights the potential perils (including costly litigation) of relying on imprecise broadly worded drafting. In order for rights to be secure, the drafting should be precise and specifically tailored to meet the client's particular objectives.
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