Single co-owner can distrain without the other’s authority

In Au Wing Lun v Cheung Chun Wah ([2010] 4 HKLRD 670, CA) A and B were the joint executors of X’s will and X had died. A obtained a warrant of distress against X’s tenant in respect of unpaid rent. The tenant applied to discharge the warrant and B applied to be joined as a defendant (there was a dispute as to the validity of the will but this had no impact on the tenant’s liability). The Court of Appeal confirmed that the judge below had been right to reject the applications. Executors are entitled to apply for warrants to distrain (Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance, s.106). One co-owner was entitled to apply in his own name and that of the other co-owner (Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance, s.107). The fact that the proceedings had been brought in the name of only one of the executors was a mere procedural irregularity and of no consequence.

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