Posts Tagged ‘periodic tenancies’

Periodic tenancies and freedom of contract

September 22, 2014

Re Threlfall ((1880) 16 Ch D 274, CA (Eng)) concerned a lease at a yearly rent of GBP 800 payable in equal quarterly installments.  The landlord had the right to enter at any time after three months from the date of the lease without giving notice. The lease was contained in a mortgage deed (the mortgagee granted the lease to the mortgagor and the re-entry provision reflected this context). The question was whether this was a periodic tenancy or a tenancy at will. The English Court of Appeal held that there was a periodic tenancy despite the re-entry provisions.

Cotton LJ said:

‘But I know of no law or principle to prevent two persons agreeing that a yearly tenancy may be determined on whatever notice they like. There is freedom of contract in this respect. ‘ (at 281 – 2).

Michael Lower


Periodic tenancy: service of notice to quit on the tenant’s solicitor

September 7, 2014

In Hau Gay Yau v Wong Muk Din ([2014] HKEC 1456, CA) a landlord served notice to quit to determine a periodic tenancy on the solicitor acting for the tenant. The Court of Appeal, overturning the first instance decision, held that the notice had been validly served. Sections 62(2) – (4) of the Conveyancing and Property Ordinance do not exclude other modes of service than those that they specify ([22]). It was clear that the solicitors on whom the notice had been served had been instructed by the tenant in relation to this matter ([23]). The tenant’s actions showed that he regarded his solicitors as having had authority to receive the notice ([23]).

Michael Lower

Periodic tenancy: Government’s right to resume possession for a public purpose

May 20, 2013

In Attorney-General v Sun Lee Godown Co Ltd ([1968] HKLR 116) the Crown had granted a monthly tenancy. The agreement allowed the Crown to resume possession if it needed the land, or any part of it, for a public purpose. The question was whether the Crown retained the normal implied right to give a month’s notice to quit or whether this was displaced by the limited express right to recover possession. It was held, as a matter of construction of the agreement, that the express right was additional to, and did not displace the usual right to terminate by giving notice to quit.

Mills-Owen J. said:

‘I see no reason to infer a bargain whereby the Crown relinquished the right to give notice to quit in exchange for clause 3(f). Further, if I had been of the opinion that clause 3(f) operated, whether by way of inferred bargain or otherwise, to deprive the Crown of the right to give the usual month’s notice to determine the monthly tenancy, I would have held it to be void as repugnant to the nature of the tenancy expressly created. It would be clearly so repugnant, in my view, as amounting to complete in consistency with the incidents of a monthly tenancy. It would be not a mere added condition, or a mere regulation of the conditions on which notice to quit might be given by the landlord. On the contrary, in my view it would have been a provision depriving the landlord of the right to determine the tenancy by a means inherently incident to the nature of the tenancy expressly created, namely by notice to quit. It would have amounted to an attempt to change the nature of the monthly tenancy, by destroying an essential incident of such a tenancy, not merely to regulate the length of notice or the terms on which it might be given. It would not be a question of regulation to a degree but of complete abrogation of the right to give notice. That in my view would necessarily be repugnant to the nature of the tenancy.’

Michael Lower