Landlord Fails to Obtain a Court Injunction to Access Tenant’s Property


It is usual for a lease to give the landlord the right to enter the let premises when needed for specified purposes. A lease will also give the tenant the right to 'quiet enjoyment' of the property they let. These clauses give obvious grounds for differences of opinion.

When seeking to obtain planning permission to develop land alongside property that was let to a tenant farmer, a landlord allowed access to the tenanted land for various purposes, including the digging of boreholes, connected with the planning application.

After outline planning permission was granted, further access to the land was required so that the necessary surveys could be carried out. The landlord sought an injunction to prevent the tenant interfering with his right of access, relying on clauses in the lease including one that allowed him access 'for any other purpose connected with his estate'.

The tenant argued that the landlord's activities constituted an interference with his right to quiet enjoyment of the premises.

The arguments were lengthy and technical and the High Court accepted the tenant's argument. It was not willing to accept that just because something was reasonable and in the landlord's interests, the tenant had to accede to his proposals. There was no evidence that the tenant would deny the landlord access for those purposes implied by the right of entry provisions in thIe lease. Furthermore, any action taken by the landlord which involved interference with the use of the land would go beyond the scope of the circumstances under which the landlord could have access to the land.

Windsor-Clive, Earl of Plymouth v Rees

Rex Cowell