A recent case held that a tenant had to remove all asbestos from its site in order to comply with its covenant to yield up the site “in good and substantial repair and condition to the satisfaction of the [lessor]".
The tenant had appointed contractors to dismantle the buildings on the land and in doing so they disturbed asbestos which was then left buried across the site. The presence of the asbestos meant that the tenant had failed to comply with its yielding up covenant as the site was not in “good and substantial repair and condition”. The tenant was liable for breach of covenant damages. Although in this case the tenant was responsible for bringing the asbestos onto the site the High Court held that even if it had not been (and the asbestos had been present before the grant of the lease) it was reasonable for a landlord to require removal of the asbestos. This case demonstrates the importance of undertaking an environmental audit to establish any hidden contamination before entering contractual or leasehold obligations.
For further information please contact Graeme Sampson on 01223 532736 or click here to email him.