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Property case law update: May 2012

Murphy v Wyatt – 12.4.11 – [2011] EWCA Civ 408 – CoA
Mobile Homes Act 1983 – Application to agreements – Tenancies protected by the Act.
Held: (1) That the Act only applied to agreements whose substantial or exclusive purpose was the grant of a right to station a mobile home on a pitch and to occupy it as residence. (2) In order for a tenancy to have the benefit of the Act, the tenancy had to be a tenancy of a 'protected site', that is a site with planning permission for use as a caravan site, at its commencement.

Thorne v Courtier & ors – 19.4.11 - [2011] EWCA Civ 460 – CoA
Contract of compromise – Acceptance of Part 36 Offer after counter-offer – Court declared claim settled - Agreement to pay “damages for trespass” – “Damages for trespass” to be determined by surveyor acting as an expert – Whether the Court had jurisdiction to impose constraints on the expert – Whether the Court should intervene before the expert had completed his task.
Held: Appeal against declaration to HC not CoA. In any event the right to appeal lost by delay. The Court retained jurisdiction to determine the meaning of the agreement and scope of the expert’s instructions. The Court had jurisdiction to intervene before the expert determination and was right to do so in the circumstances.

Beedles v Guiness Northern Counties Ltd – 19.4.11 - [2011] EWCA Civ 442 - CoA
Meaning of “enjoy” and “enjoyment” in s24C DDA 1994 – Assured tenancy – Repair of defects – Standard required – Whether landlord required to undertaken repairs tenant covenanted to undertake.
Held: It was conceded the DDA did not impose an obligation on a landlord to take steps to ensure a tenant got pleasure out of his premises. The meaning of “enjoy” and “enjoyment” require an assessment by the landlord whether the additional help or service requested was necessary to enable a disabled tenant to live as any typical tenant would live. Given the requirement for the landlord to do what is reasonable in the circumstances costs was a relevant factor.

Crossco No 4 Unlimited v Jolan Ltd – 31.3.11 - [2011] EWHC 803 (Ch) – Morgan J
Business tenancy – Exercise of break clause – s25 notice objecting to new tenancy on redevelopment grounds – Parties had been in negotiating for continued occupation - Whether promissory estoppel rendered break notice and s25 notice invalid.
Held: For promissory estoppel there needs to be a causal link between the assurance of one and conduct of the other. The landlord’s assurances about the tenant’s ability to remain did not have a sufficiently material influence on the tenant’s conduct to make the landlord’s reliance on the break notice/s25 notice inequitable. Accordingly there was no estoppel.

Hopkins v Beacon – 13.4.11 – unreported – ChD, Vos J
Adverse possession – Notice of objection – Requirement that the Registrar deal with matter under Schedule 6 para 5 LRA 2002 – Failure to indicate requirement on notice.
Held – A notice of objection must be clear to the registrar. Failure to tick requisite box not fatal. Mannai/reasonable recipient test applied to registrar/LR staff. Notice of objection and any statement received should be read together and the Mannai test applied. Schedule 6 para 5 applied.

Redcard Ltd v Williams – 20.4.11 – [2011] EWCA Civ 466 – CoA
Contracts for sale of land – Company as vendor – Validity – Signature of authorised signatories - Words “by or on behalf of” not beside signature.
Held: Requirements of s44(4) Companies Act 2006 satisfied by the definition of “seller” or “purchaser” being to a company and the signature of two authorised signatories.

Case summaries by Michelle Stevens-Hoare