No Surrender: The Difficult Economic Climate Is Putting Renewed Pressure on the Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants
During these economically difficult times, a commercial landlord may find itself in the unfortunate position whereby a struggling tenant wishes to surrender its lease and chooses simply to vacate its premises and/or hand back the keys to the landlord.
Where a tenant has vacated or returned the keys, the landlord must be careful not to do anything that may (inadvertently) give effect to the tenant’s purported surrender where there is no intention on the part of the landlord to do so.
Under English law, a surrender can occur in one of two ways: either expressly by deed or by operation of law. For a surrender by operation of law to be effective, each party’s actions must be unequivocally inconsistent with the continuation of the lease.
The following cases serve as a useful illustration of the principles in English law:
Artworld Financial Corp v Safaryan  EWCA Civ 303.