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When a tenant of industrial land failed to adhere to a notice to quit the premises, the landlord brought a legal action under the law of trespass for its lost rental income – £12,000 per annum.
The tenant did nothing and the landlord then instructed experts whose report indicated that a claim of £78,000 per annum was appropriate, based on the current rental value of the property.
The tenant raised points on the expert’s report and indicated that he would commission his own report from another expert. In the event, he failed to do so. However, the landlord also failed to amend its own particulars of claim. It was therefore somewhat surprising that when the matter reached court the judge accepted the expert report as it stood and awarded the landlord damages based on the £78,000 it indicated.
The tenant appealed to the Court of Appeal, arguing that the claim should be limited to the £12,000 contained in the landlord’s particulars of claim.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the tenant’s challenge. He was aware of the content of the expert’s report. The increased rental figures could be claimed without the requirement to amend the particulars of claim.
Says Richard Forskitt “Whilst the decision comes as something of a surprise, it does make the point that in any legal dispute where a claim is backed up by an expert report, at the very least consideration should be given to the appointment of a second independent expert to review the evidence and provide a second opinion on what is reasonable in the circumstances.”