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16 June, 2016

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Landlords should beware of cutting off essential services in response to non-payment of rent.


In a recent case, the High Court held that the landlord was not entitled to cut off the lift service because the leaseholder had failed to pay his rent.


The background was a long running service charge dispute between the landlord of an upmarket block of flats in London and one of its leaseholders.


This culminated in the leaseholder withholding rent and the landlord responded by turning off the lift that served the leaseholder’s flat.


The leaseholder applied to the Court for an injunction to force the landlord to restore the service.  The injunction application was withdrawn when the lift service was restored but, when it came to awarding costs, the Court decided that the landlord was wrong to suspend the lift service and the leaseholder was entitled to have his costs paid by the landlord.


The lease didn’t allow the landlord to withhold services if the leaseholder withheld rent and the landlord had to pay a £10,000 bill for the leaseholders’ costs


Winchester Park Ltd v Sehayak, QBD (Garnham J) 26 May 2016