A recent case has again highlighted the consequences of the “registration gap”, which is the time between a tenant acquiring a lease and that acquisition being registered at the Land Registry. Until the registration has taken place, the tenant only has an equitable interest in the lease, and this has a number of implications for both landlords and tenants.
One such implication was shown in a recent case, Sackville v Robertson. In this case, Integro, the assignee, had acquired the lease by assignment from Robertson, the assignor. After acquiring the lease, Integro wanted to serve a break notice, as permitted by the lease, to bring the lease to an end. However, Integro was only an “equitable assignee” when the break notice was served on the landlord, and the court held that the break notice was invalid. Integro was deemed to be an equitable assignee due to the fact that the assignment of the lease to it had not been registered at the Land Registry.
This case demonstrates the importance of taking legal advice when serving break notices, particularly on or around the date of an assignment.
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