Thank you. Whenever I get a lease to review, I always insist that clauses changed to adding the words “consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed”. They very often say “consent not to be unreasonably withheld” but rarely “or delayed”.
If it doesn’t say that, the landlord can be quite dilatory and could actually refuse provided it’s reasonable.
As you will read here, this situation is not uncommon and the answer is far from straightforward and certainly not black and white.
it seems unlikely that the landlord can use the sale of the building as reasonable grounds to refuse the assignment but if he does, then your only remedy is to make an application to court to have the court determine the issue. Unfortunately, that takes time. On the other side of the coin however it really does depend on whether the landlord does not want to renew because he’s Sally or is just being dilatory. What you can do of course is, by entering into litigation, effectively stop him selling because it’s unlikely that a buyer would want to buy with litigation like this pending.
By the same token of course, your buyer will not want to buy until such time as the assignment has been completed.
I wish I could give you a definitive answer to this but I am afraid that there is not one. Ultimately, if the landlord simply refuses point blank even if he is being unreasonable, you cannot beat it with a blunt instrument until he assigns the lease and in cases like that, you are faced with a court application.
I know this probably answers your question would almost certainly will not give you the magic solution and that’s because the magic solution, in this case, is court. If there were an answer to every legal question, there would be no need for court