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Landlord defends £1m claim for damages arising out of fire in restaurant

Stratton v Patel [2014] EWHC 2677 (TCC)

Restaurant premises were damaged by a fire and leaks which occurred during development works carried out above them by building contractors employed by the landlord.

The builders' insurers refused to compensate the tenants for the damage caused and the landlord's buildings insurers also delayed in offering settlement in respect of the cost of works.

The tenants brought a claim against the landlord for substantial damages approaching in total £1m. The landlord brought a third party claim against the builders.

Prior to the trial, the third party claim was settled on confidential terms and the landlord offered to carry out remedial works. The tenants proceeded to trial, seeking substantial damages against the landlord. The damages claimed included the cost of the tenants carrying out the works themselves and loss of profits.

The tenants relied on numerous causes of action including: alleged breaches of the repairing covenants, fire reinstatement covenants, specific indemnities under the lease, quiet enjoyment and non-derogation from grant, the Party Wall etc Act 1996, negligence and nuisance. They additionally sought exemplary damages for the landlord's alleged deliberate delay in carrying out reinstatement works.

In a judgment handed down on 1 August 2014, the Deputy High Court judge rejected all the claims for damages and held that the case should be disposed of by the Court accepting an undertaking by the landlord to carry out works to reinstate the premises.

Matt Hutchings acted for the landlord.