Weekly review: 20th – 24th February 2012

Leases: implied covenants

A repairing covenant (or any other covenant) can be implied into a lease where the written terms clearly do not spell out the whole bargain and the nature of the contract, the actions of the parties and the circumstances justified the finding of an implied term (Liverpool City Council v Irwin).

Leases: repairing covenants: ‘tenantable repair’

While the courts generally seem not to give much weight to qualifying words such as ‘tenantable’, it can be relevant to consider whether a likely prospective tenant of the property would be put off by any deterioration of its fabric (including the state of decoration). This seems to be a dimension that is added by the word ‘tenantable’ (Proudfoot v Hart).

Lease renewals and estoppel

Estoppel by acquiescence requires that the party said to be estopped or to have waived a right must appreciate the relevant legal rights that he has and not merely the facts giving rise to them (Kammins Balrooms Co Ltd v Zenith Investments (Torquay) Ltd).

Proprietary estoppel

When registered owners signed certain documents intended to transfer their ownership and development rights to ‘small houses’ in the New Territories this gave rise to a proprietary estoppel claim even though there was no contract of sale (Best Star Holdings Ltd v Lam Chun Hing).

Proprietary estoppel and future property

After Thorner it seems that an assurance for proprietary estoppel must relate to identifiable property and that a claim to an estate in the future (where there is substantial doubt as to what it will comprise) will  be inadequate. Re Basham may mark the furthest extreme of what is possible (McDonald v Frost).

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