God rest ye merry gentlemen;

Let nothing ye dismay;

For your tenant's assignment notice;

Wasn't served in the right way.

You are sitting at your desk, a few days before your Christmas leave with cheer and merriment filling your thoughts, when an application for consent to assign from one of your tenants hits your desk. Don’t panic! Check the lease as you may have more time to deal with the application than you think.

There are statutory obligations governing landlord duties on assignments, particularly in relation to timescales for dealing with applications, and these are engaged when a landlord receives a formal application from its tenant. However, the case of No 1 West India Quay (Residential) Ltd v East Tower Apartments Ltd suggests that if the application is not served properly by the tenant in accordance with the terms of the lease, time does not start to run. This will make it harder for your tenant to mount an argument in the future that you have unreasonably delayed dealing with the application. Therefore, on receipt of an application, don't throw the envelope away, and check the notice and mode of service against the requirements in the lease.