A tenant whose title has been extinguished by adverse possession can surrender the lease

A tenant whose title has been extinguished by adverse possession can surrender the lease and thereby give the landlord an immediate right to possession.

Fairweather v St Marylebone Property Co Ltd ([1963] AC 510, HL) concerned a shed that lay across the boundary between two properties (311 and 315 West End Lane). There were 99 year leases of both properties. The tenant of 311 took possession of the whole of the shed and defeated the title of the tenant of 315 to the latter’s portion of the shed. The tenant of 315 surrendered the lease. The freeholder of 315 then sought to recover possession of the part of the shed belonging to 315. The majority of the House of Lords held that the freeholder was entitled to do so.  The effect of the surrender was that the landlord had an immediate right to possession and did not have to wait until the lease had expired to be able to recover possession. Even though the lease had been extinguished by the UK’s equivalent of the Limitation Ordinance, this did not mean that the tenant had no estate to surrender the landlord.

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