Tenant’s insurance issues—rent suspension

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

  • Tenant’s insurance issues—rent suspension
  • No suspension implied
  • Frustration
  • Circumstances of operation
  • Multi-let developments
  • Uninsured risks
  • Period of suspension
  • Right to terminate
  • Reinstatement prevented
  • Just rent?

Tenant’s insurance issues—rent suspension

No suspension implied

A suspension of rent is not implied even where the tenant pays the cost of insurance. The tenant remains liable for the rent even though the premises have become unusable. The tenant must, therefore, ensure there is a specific provision confirming that the rent is suspended if the property becomes unfit for use and/or beneficial occupation.


The only possible exception to the general rule is if the lease has been frustrated. However, the circumstances when the doctrine would apply are exceedingly rare. Coastal erosion has been suggested as one example.

Circumstances of operation

A suspension of rent clause will be strictly construed so the tenant should ensure that it clearly provides when it will operate.

Rent suspension is often geared to the degree of damage suffered, so that either suspension does not occur at all if the premises can be rapidly reinstated, or the proportion of rent suspended is linked to the amount of damage.

The rent should be suspended not only where the demised premises are rendered unfit for use, but also where access to the premises is prevented.

Multi-let developments

The tenant of part of the building or of a unit in a multi-let development should ensure that the rent suspension will also apply where the demised premises themselves are not damaged, but the remainder of the building or the common parts are damaged

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