Stephen Acton represented the successful landlord in a case called Ryan v Vambeck in which Mrs Recorder McAllister handed down judgment in Central London County Court on 25 January. The personal representatives of the deceased tenant had assigned the lease, and the assignee was seeking to acquire a new (90 year) lease of the premises pursuant to a notice which had been served by the personal representatives purportedly under s42 of the Leasehold Reform Etc Act 1993. The landlord sought to resist this on two grounds, which each raised a question of statutory construction on which there appeared to be no direct authority.
The first was whether the personal representatives were entitled to serve the notice more than two years after the date of their appointment notwithstanding s42(4A) of the Act which appeared to prohibit this. The new tenant argued that this two-year cut-off date applies only when personal representatives seek to exercise the “derivative” right based upon the deceased tenant’s previous two-year period as a qualifying tenant, and not to cases in which the representatives are exercising their own right as qualifying tenants, two years after themselves becoming tenants. This argument was supported by a footnote in Hague and statements of the promoter of the bill reported in Hansard.