Costly Court Ruling On Commercial Tenant’s Unauthorised Alterations

Posted on February 20, 2011 by | 2 Comments

Tim O'Dwyer M.A., LL.B OPINION
by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
Solicitor
Consumer Advocate
watchdog@argonautlegal.com.au

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Despite a lease clause prohibiting alterations without the landlord’s consent, an office building tenant redesigned and replaced the foyer of the building without consent. The High Court found the landlord entitled to more than a million dollars in damages to cover not only the cost of reinstating the foyer but also rent lost in the process.


Because the landlord was particularly taken with the foyer, which utilised San Fransisco Green granite, Canberra York Grey granite and sequence-matched crown-cut American cherry timber, the tenant was told consent would not be given for any foyer alterations.   The landlord later discovered at a site meeting that a glass and stone partition, timber panelling and stone floor tiles had been removed from the foyer – and what remained of the stone work was being jack-hammered.  The landlord protested, but the tenant continued with and completed the foyer alterations.


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