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Doctors at War Over Medical Centre Tenancy

universityA Court of Appeal ruling has opened a new chapter in a bitter landlord and tenant dispute between two doctors whose partnership collapsed after they fell out and who have since lavished more than £100,000 in legal costs arguing over which of them has the right to occupy their former premises.

The medics had worked together as partners at a medical centre which was owned by one of them (the landlord) and in which the other (the tenant) had a leasehold interest. Their relationship ended in acrimony and the landlord sought to dissolve their partnership and end the tenancy. The tenant, however, applied for a 15-year extension to his tenancy so that he could continue practising on the premises.

That application was refused after the landlord opposed it on the basis that he wished to occupy the medical centre himself as a sole practitioner. In allowing the tenant’s appeal, the Court identified flaws in that decision and sent the matter back for reconsideration at county court level.

Given the substantial legal costs already incurred in the dispute, the tenant’s lawyers had argued that it would be proportionate for the Court to grant him a new tenancy on the spot rather than remit the case. However, the Court declined that invitation, noting that the legal issues were not straightforward.