Weekly review: 6th – 10th February 2012

Leases: covenants: interpretation: construction: ‘house’

As with any question of construction, the search for the meaning of a word used in a deed or agreement is a search for the intention of the parties. The agreements preceding the deed in question and a reading of those agreements and the deed in general can help. When looking for the commercial or policy aim underlying the use of a word such as ‘house’, other guides to intention can be judicial pronouncements preceding the drafting of the instrument since it can be presumed that it was prepared by legally informed professionals. The types of building that the parties might have contemplated as being capable of being built can help. The ordinary lay usage of the term is not a reliable guide in isolation (Fully Profit (Asia) Ltd v Secretary for Justice).

Leases: lease renewal: competition law

Competition law grounds (such as access to an essential facility) might play a part in lease renewal proceedings under England’s Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 but only where there are competition law reasons for saying that refusal to grant a new lease would be abusive (Humber Oil Terminals Trustee Ltd v Associated British Ports).

Leases: nuisance: repairing covenant

A full repairing lease requires the tenant to put right anything that has gone wrong with the physical condition of the demised premises that falls short of renewal or improvement. When addressing whether required works fall on the ‘repair’ side of the dividing line, it may be appropriate to look at several items of required work together where there is some link between them and to ask whether, collectively, they amount to repair or renewal. Would the landlord be getting back something wholly different from what had been demised? A landowner who would be liable for nuisance cannot escape liability by granting a lease, even a full repairing lease.

Pallant v Morgan equity

There can be no Pallant v Morgan equity in the absence of some joint venture or agreement to share (National Trust for Places of Historic Interest v Birden).

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