British Bakeries (Midlands) Ltd v Michael Testler: ChD 1986

Peter Gibson J discussed the refusal of a landlord’s consent to an assignment: ‘In my judgment, where, as here, a refusal of consent to an assignment is based on a number of reasons, the fact that one of those reasons is bad will not normally render the refusal unreasonable, assuming that the other reasons are good. As the observation in Berenyi and British Bakeries suggests, it seems to me that, ultimately, it is a question of considering the covenant and the refusal of consent in each case. Thus, it may be clear that the bad reason is by far the most important reason, and that the purportedly good reasons were merely makeweights; or it may be that the existence of the bad reason infects or vitiates what would otherwise, in the absence of the bad reason, be a good reason. However, in the absence of such special factors, I consider that what was agreed in British Bakeries, was stated, albeit obiter and inferentially, by Slade LJ in Bromley, and appears to have been assumed in International Drilling, represents . . the law . .’
Peter Gibson J cited the following agreed principle: ‘If a landlord has a good reason and a bad reason for withholding consent, consent may nevertheless have been reasonably withheld if the good reason is sufficient reason and is not otherwise vitiated by the bad reason.’


Peter Gibson J


[1986] 1 EGLR 64


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedDesign Progression Limited v Thurloe Properties Limited ChD 25-Feb-2004
The tenant applied for a licence to assign. The landlord failed to reply, anticipating that delay would allow it to generate a better lease renewal.
Held: The delay was unreasonable and a breach of the landlord’s statutory duty, and was an act . .
CitedNo1 West India Quay (Residential) Ltd v East Tower Apartments Ltd ChD 6-Oct-2016
Consent to assignment – delay
Tenants under long residential leases challenged the refusal of the landlord to consent to particular assignments of apartments. The leases contained provisions saying that such consent was not to be unreasonably withheld. The landlord now appealed . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 03 July 2022; Ref: scu.194087