Rent suspension or cesser

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Rent suspension or cesser
  • Damage by fire
  • When does rent become payable again?
  • Fit for occupation by the tenant?

Rent suspension or cesser

Generally, the tenant remains liable for the rent even though the premises have become unusable. Consequently, leases normally contain a provision suspending the rent in the event of damage or destruction. If the clause provides only that the rent is suspended:

  1. service charge payments, and

  2. contributions to the insurance premiums

continue to be payable. A suspension of rent clause is strictly construed. In P&O, the suspension of rent clause applied to 'the rent hereby reserved or a fair proportion thereof'. Neuberger J held that this did not include insurance premiums and service charge payments reserved, even though they were reserved as additional rent.

If the lease is silent, no proviso for the suspension of rent is implied, even where the tenant pays the cost of insurance.

The Code for Commercial Leases recommends that if damage by an uninsured risk prevents occupation, the tenant

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