Commercial tenant’s declaratory relief claim against landlord non-justiciable (TCC)

  • In Office Depot International (UK) Ltd v UBC Asset Management (UK) Ltd and others [2018] EWHC 1494 (TCC), the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) struck out a commercial tenant’s (T’s) claim against its landlord (L) for declaratory relief.
  • A covenant to keep the premises in “good and substantial repair” was in T’s lease.
  • T sought declaratory relief with regards to the works it was obliged to undertake to the leaking warehouse roof.
  • T wished to claim any repair costs under contractor’s collateral warranties while they were still enforceable, L had not claimed for breach of the covenant.
  • The judge held that T’s pleaded case did not raise any justiciable issue.
  • For one, there was no dispute over the nature and scope of T’s repairing obligation.
  • A proposal from T was required for the court to determine what works were needed, except for good reason, the court should not take on responsibility for, or interfere with, a decision made pursuant to a commercial contract.
  • Further, it would not be appropriate to grant a declaration identifying the works necessary to satisfy T’s repairing obligation as the obligation was to ensure a state of repair.
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