Vacant Possession

Landlord and Tenant

The Court of Appeal has given a clear definition of what it means to give ‘vacant possession’ in the recent case of Ibrend Estates BV v NYK Logistics (UK) Ltd.

In this case the lease between the two parties had a break cause which required NYK, the tenant, to give its landlord, Ibrend Estates, vacant possession.  NYK gave notice and moved out of the premises by the appropriate date.  However they employed workmen to carry out repair works to the property the week after the break date.  Ibrend Estates was successful in arguing that NYK had not given vacant possession because the property was still being used for NYK’s purposes.

In explaining the concept of ‘vacant possession’ Lord Justice Rimer stated “It means what it does in every domestic and commercial sale in which there is an obligation to give ‘vacant possession’ on completion.  It means that at the moment that ‘vacant possession’ is required to be given, the property is empty of people and chattels and that the purchaser is able to assume and enjoy immediate and exclusive possession, occupation and control of it.”