As the law stands, landlords can sue anyone who has once held a lease, however long ago. This has become a major grievance for businesses suddenly stuck with claims for rent on properties they left decades earlier. The Bill Bendall opposed, launched by a fellow Tory, Peter Thurnham, would have restricted the liability to the previous tenant. But Bendall's attitude can be explained by his occupation.
He started work for the family firm of estate agents in 1956 and was in charge for 20 years. He also owns the firm's offices and, in the words of the register of members' interests: 'numerous other houses and commercial properties in the Croydon area'.