We reported on the case of No 1 West India Quay (Residential) Ltd v East Tower Apartments Ltd at the end of last year, highlighting the point that, when a tenant serves a notice seeking consent to assign a lease, time doesn't start to run if the formal notice requirements in the lease haven't been complied with.
The case also confirms another point which is less helpful to landlords, namely that if a landlord refuses to deal with an application because its costs have not been dealt with, it runs the risk of the court deciding that it has acted unreasonably. In this case the High Court found that the quantum of the costs demanded by the landlord was unreasonable, because the sum did not reflect a reasonable cost for the work actually being done, and that the landlord was therefore unreasonable in not granting consent to assign. Landlords should ensure that their internal procedures take account of this. If a landlord's practice is simply to issue a pro forma consent, as was the case in the West India Quay case, the costs it demands of its tenants must take account of that.