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When the group company was sold to a third party, it was agreed that the lease should also be formally assigned.The tenant made an application to the superior landlord by email but failed to make an application to the landlord until some time later.
Normally applications should be made in writing and direct to the landlord, even if this is also copied by e-mail to the landlord’s surveyors or other advisers; • provide as much information about the proposed transaction and assignee/undertenant as possible.Decision Whilst the lease did not contain a requirement on the landlord not to unreasonably withhold consent, statutory provisions provide that a landlord owes a duty to grant consent within a reasonable time, except in circumstances where it is not reasonable to do so.In order to trigger this duty notice must be served on a landlord by the tenant applying for consent. ON UK plc v Gilesports Limited  highlights some of the pitfalls that lie in wait for tenants, when making application for consent to assign a lease. They wanted to assign the lease to the Original Shoe Company Limited, and their solicitors made application for landlord’s consent in May 2008.The application was made by way of an e-mail, to the landlord’s agents.The retail unit was subsequently sublet to a sub-tenant (for purposes of this article referred to as the “tenant”) by reference to the terms of the superior lease (the “lease”).In turn the tenant shared occupation of the retail unit with a group company.The agents contacted the landlord, who duly appointed some solicitors to act for them.There was some correspondence with the tenant’s solicitors about payment of costs, and provision of accounts for the proposed assignee.The lease in this case contained comparatively standard provisions for service of notices, requiring that any notice must be in writing and served on the party to whom it is addressed, either by hand or by registered post.Because the Gilesports’ application for consent had been made by e-mail, to the landlord’s agent, this did not satisfy the requirements for service of the application, so section 1 did not apply.