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Landlord and Tenant Act 1954: time for a change? Landlord and tenant update

Malcolm John Dowden (Gwentian Consulting Limited, Reading, UK.)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




This legal update examines recent decisions on the security of tenure given by Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to business tenants, and asks whether it is time to revisit or remove a piece of legislation that was drafted to deal with the consequences of war damage and short supply of commercial premises during the 1950s. It highlights the narrow, technical rules and distinctions that make little sense to commercial parties. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The paper considers recent court rulings in the light of the original purpose of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, focusing on provisions that were reformed in 1969-reflect changes in market conditions since the immediate post-Second World War period.


Narrow, technical rules and exceptions carry considerable risks for commercial landlords and may not be appropriate or necessary in current market conditions.

Research limitations/implications

The paper examines only a recent selection of court rulings, but highlights the potentially harsh impact on commercial landlords of legislation designed to protect tenant interests in market conditions radically different from those prevailing some 60 years after its enactment.

Practical implications

With no immediate prospect of reform, the paper highlights the need for landlords to adhere closely to the precise technical requirements of the Act.


The paper is based on the author’s reading and analysis of recent Court of Appeal rulings.



Dowden, M.J. (2015), "Landlord and Tenant Act 1954: time for a change? Landlord and tenant update", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 107-112.



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