Case details

Sequent Nominees Ltd (formerly Rotrust Nominees Ltd) (Appellant) v Hautford Ltd (a company registered in the British Virgin Islands) (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2018/0098

Case summary


Whether the landlord’s refusal to consent to the planning application for change of use was reasonable.


The appellant, Rotrust, is the freehold owner of a terraced building in London ("the Property"). The Property is part of a block of contiguous properties, including certain others also owned by Rotrust (the "Soho Estate"). The Property is subject to a lease made in April 1986 for a term of 100 years from 25 December 1985. The lease contains a tenant’s covenant not to apply for planning permission without the prior written consent of the landlord, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld. The respondent, Hautford, is the current tenant under the lease.

Rotrust’s predecessor in title to the Property refused consent for Hautford to apply for planning permission to change the use of the first and second floors of the Property from office use, or use ancillary to retail use of the ground floor, to residential use. Rotrust has continued to refuse consent, on the grounds that such change of use would increase the prospect of successful enfranchisement under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, and that such enfranchisement would damage Rotrust’s management of the Soho Estate. The judge held that Rotrust’s refusal of consent was unreasonable.

Judgment appealed

[2018] EWCA Civ 765



Rotrust Nominees Ltd


Hautford Limited (a company registered in the British Virgin Islands)



Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lord Briggs, Lady Arden

Hearing start date

14 May 2019

Hearing finish date

14 May 2019

Watch hearing
14 May 2019 Morning session Afternoon session