In March, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published its Guideline on the application of competition law to land agreements.

In summary, from 6 April 2011, the chapter 1 prohibition in the Competition Act 1998 against agreements which restrict competition now applies to agreements “relating to land”, for instance transfers, leases, licences and agreements for lease and development agreements, although not section 106 agreements. The consequences of breaching the prohibition include not only the anti-competitive restriction being rendered void and unenforceable but also the possibility of a fine or actions for damages.

The guidance also goes on to give examples of what the OFT considers would be anti-competitive agreements, for instance the developer of a shopping centre who grants exclusivity to the lessee of a coffee shop, even though the centre would clearly support more than one coffee shop.

Further information can be found in our briefing Land agreements and the Competition Act, OFT final guidance.