Brie Stevens-Hoare provides her monthly update of property cases.
Hall v Shirt
Citation: Hall & anr v Shirt & anr – 27.3.12 – CoA  PLSCS 75
Keywords: Family farm – Partnership – Tenancy – Father fails to pay rent – Succession rights under Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 lost
Held: The succession rights were partnership property, not purely personal. The failure to pay rent was a breach of duty causing loss of the opportunity to succeed.
PCE Investors v Cancer Research UK
Citation: PCE Investors Ltd v Cancer Research UK – 4.4.12 – ChD –  EWHC 884 – Peter Smith J
Keywords: Break Clause – Rent payable up to termination – Rent payable quarterly in advance – Landlord demanded full quarter’s rent – Tenant paid apportioned sum – Whether lease terminated
Held: (1) On a proper construction a full quarter’s rent fell due in advance and was payable prior to termination. A failure to pay the full quarter operated as non-compliance with the conditions for a valid termination. (2) The landlord’s demand for the full sum was clear. The landlord’s silence when asked if the apportioned sum was sufficient did not amount to evidence the tenant believed that payment was sufficient.
Mortgage Express v Abensons Solicitors
Citation: Mortgage Express v Abensons Solicitors – 20.4.12 - CA –  EWHC 1000 – HHJ David Cooke
Keywords: Solicitor – Professional negligence – Acting for borrower and lender – Amendment after limitation period expired – Breach of fiduciary duty – s32 Limitation Act 1980
Held: Section 32(2) would only assist to block a limitation defence if a claimant could establish the defendant was aware, at the time of breach, that its actions were a breach of duty. Ignorance even if negligent, would prevent reliance on s32.
Frozen Value v Heron Foods
Citation: Frozen Value Ltd v Heron Foods Ltd – 24.4.12 – CoA –  EWCA Civ 473
Keywords: Business tenancy – ’54 Act renewal by underlessee – Headlessee not competent landlord when notice served – Whether headlessee could rely on ground (g)
Held: The nine month break in the headlessee’s status as the underlessee’s competent landlord was fatal to its entitlement to rely on (g) because it was not the competent landlord for the whole of five years prior to service of the notice.