Pineport Ltd v Grangeglen Ltd [2016] EWHC 1318 (Ch), 13 June 2016

The Court has held that human factors can be taken into account when assessing claims for relief from forfeiture.

Pineport Ltd (“the Tenant”) was granted relief from forfeiture of an underlease of an industrial unit despite forfeiture having occurred 14 months previously on account of rent arrears.

The test applied by the Court was whether, in all the circumstances, the Tenant had acted reasonably promptly.

The Court based its decision on consideration of the following key arguments:

  • The Tenant’s reasons for delay in seeking relief and making payment. These included a lack of money, absence of specialist advice and the fact that the director was suffering from depression.
  • The Tenant’s rent arrears at the time of forfeiture amounted to £2,155, which was less than 1% of the capital value (being £275,000) of the underlease (which could be paid at the time of the court case).
  • The Landlord had done nothing to market the unit after the forfeiture.

Key Points to Take Away

  • The Court’s discretion to grant relief is broad but this demonstrates that even human factors (such as depression) could be considered.
  • The guidance period of six months for relief will not prevent a Court from granting relief were it feels it is equitable to do so.
  • Landlords ought to be active when faced with the uncertainty of whether a tenant intends to make an application for relief.