Phillips and Goddard v Francis: The end of the road?

I wrote a blog earlier this year about the case involving Point Curlew holiday park in Cornwall where the tenants succeeded in a claim against their landlord concerning the proper interpretation of section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

That decision has sent shock waves through the property management industry as the Chancellor of the High Court decided that the £250 qualifying works consultation threshold should be applied annually rather than on a project by project basis. This went against the received wisdom in the industry and the decision has been criticised by some commentators because of the practical problems that it created.

The basic rationale for the decision seems to have been that tenants require protection for expenditure on sporadic works as well as for complete sets of works and that can only be achieved by applying the statutory cap in this way. The judge appeared to be looking to find a way to plug the hole used by landlords to avoid the consultation requirements but some consider he went to far. It seems to me hat is needed is a clearer definition of “Qualifying Works” in the 1985 Act to dispel any uncertainty.

Well, I understand from the Point Curlew Tenants Association ( that the landlord has asked for permission to appeal the decision out of time. Further, with the Daejan Investments Ltd v Benson appeal opening the door for a possible dispensation claim it seems that it may not be the last we’ve heard of section 20 consultation in the higher courts this year.

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