Can assignor of reversion enforce tenant’s covenants

An assignor of the reversion loses the right to enforce tenant’s covenants that touch and concern the land even if the breach occurred before the assignment. This is the effect of section 31 of the Conveyancing and Property Ordinance.

In Re King ([1963] Ch. 459, CA (Eng)) L granted a long lease to T. The lease contained covenants on the tenant’s part to repair and (f necessary) rebuild the property and to keep it insured in joint names. The property was  severely damaged in 1944 but wartime restrictions prevented its rebuilding. The freehold reversion was assigned to the London County Council in 1960. The English Court of Appeal held that L could no longer, after the assigment, bring proceedings for breach of the covenant to rebuild. This was the effect of the plain words of the English equivalent of CPO, s. 31 (s.141 of the Law of Property Act 1925). Even though the insurance policy was in joint names it was held that the insurance monies belonged entirely to the tenant.

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