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Patel v Johal & Johal

Joe Ollech acted for the successful defendant landlord in opposed renewal proceedings under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954. The case had attracted a considerable degree of local political and media publicity, as the claimant tenant – the proprietor of a popular corner shop - mounted a prolonged campaign to remain in situ.  The case was unusual in that the landlord relied upon the quite rarely encountered second limb of ground (g), namely that they intended to occupy the holding for the purposes of his residence.  Ground (f) was relied upon as well, but ground (g) was more prominent.

The case was of interest, not primarily with regard to the legal issues raised by the 1954 Act per se but by the advisory work and strategy required in light of the tenant’s determined approach on a variety of fronts. At the outset the tenant successfully applied to have his business registered as an Asset of Community Value. Whilst it was odd to see the local authority accept that application – in the sense that it was not the premises that were actually said to be of value – that had no bearing on the 1954 Act and did not deter the landlord from issuing proceedings. 

It was the handling of the planning matters that was more intricate. The local planning authority unexpectedly refused planning permission, against the recommendation of its planning officer.  This occurred after the claim had been issued. The court granted the landlord’s contested application for a stay whilst an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was pursued.  When that appeal succeeded the proceedings were re-instated, but the landlord acquiesced to a further stay whilst the tenant challenged the appeal by way of judicial review.  When that claim was dismissed the landlord reinstated the County Court action; ultimately the parties agreed a date for possession and terms of statutory compensation shortly before trial.  It is fair to say that the case was unremarkable as a matter of law or precedent, but it was a good example of patiently staying the course, and taking the appropriate action at the appropriate time to achieve the necessary end result.

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