Adverse possession when a periodic tenant stops paying rent

A periodic tenant is in adverse possession when the period covered by the last payment of rent expires and there is no further payment of rent.

In Hayward v Chaloner ([1968] 1 QB 107, CA (Eng)) the Haywards granted a periodic tenancy to the Rector of their parish of a part of their land. After a while, because they were staunch supporters of the parish, they stopped asking for rent. The Rector allowed tenants of some cottages to use the land as part of their garden. Then the Rector offered to sell the cottages and the Hayward’s land, to the tenants. The Haywards sought to recover possesion of their land. It was held that the Rector of the parish had acquired title through adverse possession. The adverse possession began when the period covered by the last payment of rent expired. It did not matter that there had been a succession of Rectors during the relevant period since the Rector was a corporation sole. The Rectors had been in possession through their tenants.

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