Relvok Properties Ltd v Dixon: CA 1972

A lease was assigned to a Mr Krokidis who then departed. The landlords instructed Estate Agents to change the locks. The defendants said that that amounted to a surrender of the lease.
Held: They were wrong: ‘In my judgment Judge Irving correctly applied the principles which emerge from Oastler v Henderson, where the Court of Appeal held that attempts by a landlord to let premises which had been abandoned by a tenant did not constitute an unequivocal act operating as acceptance of a surrender. The result of that and other authorities is that as the law stands it is open to a landlord whose tenant has absconded both to protect the security of his premises and the state of their repair and yet maintain his rights for rent against that tenant until a fresh one is found and he then thinks fit to enforce the forfeiture. Whether in any individual case the landlord has done more than thus protect his interests is of course a question of fact in each case. The onus lies on the tenant to prove that more has been done and thus the lease terminated. In the instant case the defendants have failed to discharge that burden. The landlords took a course which has rightly been described as ‘sensible’ from their own point of view. In those circumstances it is a great pity that there was not more joint effort to make the best of this unfortunate situation.’


Sachs LJ


(1972) 224 EG 1401, (1973) 25 P and Cr 1


England and Wales


CitedOastler v Henderson 1877
The tenancy was for seven years. Shortly after its creation, the tenant left the keys with the agent and asked him to dispose of it or make the best bargain for surrender he could, and left for America. A tenant not being found, the agent returned . .

Cited by:

CitedJohn Laing Construction Ltd v Amber Pass Ltd ChD 7-Apr-2004
The landlord resisted the exercise of a break clause saying that the entire premises had not been vacated. The difference was as to whether mere vacation was enough, or whether the tenant had to do some further positive act. The tenant had left . .
CitedBellcourt Estates Ltd v Adesina CA 18-Feb-2005
The landlord sought to recover arrears of rent. The tenant said that she had surrendered the lease of the properties. The judge had held that she ceased to occupy the premises from November 2000, after which the landlord did not send a demand for . .
CitedJones v London Borough of Merton CA 16-Jun-2008
The court was asked ‘If a former secure tenant of a dwelling-house who has become a ‘tolerated trespasser’ in it decides to cease to occupy it, does his liability to pay mesne profits to his former landlord in respect of the dwelling-house cease . .
CitedArtworld Financial Corporation v Safaryan and Others CA 27-Feb-2009
The parties disputed whether the landlord had accepted the surrender of a lease. The tenant had handed in the keys. The landlord claimed rent for the subsequent period. The court had found surrender by operation of law, the landlord taking several . .
CitedPadwick Properties Ltd v Punj Lloyd Ltd ChD 9-Mar-2016
The tenant had left the property, their solicitors writing informing the landlord that it had vacated the Property and asserting that ‘the security and safety of the Property will revert to your client.’ The keys were returned, and on the insolvency . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.200446