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Property case law update: August 2011

Mew v Tristmire Ltd – 28.7.11 – [2011] EWCA Civ 912 - CA
Houseboat – Assured Tenancy – Dwelling house part of land demised – Annexation.
Held: House boats could only be the subject of tenancies if they formed part of the landlord’s land. The houseboats and wooden platforms they rested on were not necessarily single units. The ownership of the houseboats themselves depended on the usual principles of annexation. The movability of the particular houseboat put it into the category that remained a chattel. Accordingly it was not the subject matter of an Assured tenancy.

The Chief Land Registrar v Silkstone – 14.6.11 - [2011] EWCA Civ 801 - CoA
Adjudicator to HM Land Registry – Jurisdiction – Withdrawal of objection at hearing.
Held: A reference by HMLR confers jurisdiction to decide whether the application succeeds or not. Neither party may unilaterally terminate the jurisdiction. Upon a unilateral withdrawal the Adjudicator has discretion how to proceed.

The Chief Land Registrar v Bedward – 7.7.11 - [2011] EWCA Civ 772 – CoA
Adjudicator to HM Land Registry - Appeal – Implementation of order pending appeal – Intervening third party interests – Power on appeal to restore the register.
Held: Where a third party interest has intervened the appellant court has the power to nevertheless restore the register, just as where no third party interest intervenes. That power is discretionary and should not ordinarily be exercised in a third party interest case.

Haq v Island Housing Association & L B of Tower Hamlets – 20.7.11 - [2011] EWCA Civ 805 - CA.
Lease renewal negotiations – Subject to Contract – Terms agreed – Tenant allowed into occupation of additional premises – Extensive work undertaken – Proprietary estoppel.
Held: The provision of keys to the additional premises, contrary to an indication they would not be provided until the transaction was complete, amounted to a representation there was no objection to the commencement of work prior to completion. That act was not a representation that formal documentation or completion were no longer required or that that the status of “subject to contract” had been lifted.

Sharples v Places for People Homes Ltd & Godfrey v A2 Dominion Homes Ltd – 15.7.11 – [2011] EWCA Civ 813 – CA
Possession orders – Bankruptcy automatic stay – Debt Relief Order stay
Held: Orders for possession are not caught by the automatic stays and can be made notwithstanding bankruptcy or DRO’s. However where there is a bankruptcy order or DRO ordinarily no money order may be made nor any conditional order related to the arrears provable in the bankruptcy or subject to the DRO.

Case summaries by Michelle Stevens-Hoare