Entertainments are not “promotions” for service charge purposes
In the current economic climate landlords and tenants will continue to consider in great detail the service charge provisions in leases and to review what expenditure is and is not recoverable. Service charge disputes are likely to become more common according to CMS Cameron McKenna.
This came about after a legal decision of Boots UK Limited -v- Trafford Centre Limited in 2008 when the High Court held that the landlord could pass on the cost of entertainments, Christmas decorations, a Christmas grotto and a large permanent television screen to its shopping centre tenants via the service charge.
The court held that all these items were each a facility, an amenity or an attraction, rather than a form of promotion of the shopping centre and therefore the entire cost was to be included in the ordinary service charge with no contribution from the landlord. In contrast, had these items been classified as a promotion, then the cost of providing them would have had to be shared between the landlord and the tenant. Source Dorsey & Whitney
Forsters explain in more detail the items Boots contested and why the judge found against them.