When will a person have authority to act on behalf of a lessor to receive notice from a lessee?

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In Papantoniou v Stonewall Hotel Pty Ltd [2018] NSWCA 85, the lessee served a notice to exercise an option to extend the lease on a solicitor whom they believed acted as an agent on behalf of the lessor. The lessor argued that the service was inadequate because the solicitor had no authority to receive the notice on their behalf.

The Court stated that whether an alleged agent has the authority to receive notice depends on the terms of the lease and the role of the agent. The lease did not define landlord to include or exclude agents of the lessor. Also, the solicitor had previously acted for the lessor over several years by dealing with other solicitors, sending correspondence and  receiving the previous option to extend the lease. The Court held that over several years, the solicitor held a general retainer to act on behalf of the lessor on whatever legal matters arose concerning the property. Hence the option to renew the lease was validly served. Read more

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