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Inverugie Investments V. Hackett Notes

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INVERUGIE INVESTMENTS V. HACKETT FACTS But the facts are unusual, since the land consists of 30 specified apartments in a much larger hotel. The hotel is owned by the defendants, Inverugie Investments Ltd. The plaintiff, the late Mr. Richard Hackett, was the lessee of the apartments under a lease dated 5 June 1970 for a term of 99 years. On 25 November 1974 the plaintiff was ejected by the defendants. On 6 March 1975 he brought proceedings for possession. Those proceedings culminated on 19 December 1984 when the Board dismissed the defendants' appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in favour of the plaintiff. Despite a further order granted by Malone J. on 23 June 1986 requiring the defendants to give up possession forthwith, they did not do so until 12 April 1990. The trespass thus lasted for a continuous period of 15 years. The question for decision is the appropriate measure of damages. Mr. Mowbray made clear to the Board, as he had already made clear in the courts below, that the plaintiff is claiming a reasonable rent for the apartments throughout the period of the trespass. This is the basis on which damages for mesne profits are awarded every day in the county courts. The plaintiff is not asking for an account of profits, perhaps because the hotel was running at a loss, as the defendants have maintained throughout. He is not asserting a restitutionary claim as an independent cause of action. Mr. Price, for the defendants, accepts that the plaintiff is entitled to a reasonable rent. Accordingly, on the arguments presented, no issue of legal principle arises. The problem is how a reasonable rent should be calculated. In the ordinary case where the plaintiff is the landlord of domestic premises, and the defendant is or was the tenant, this creates no difficulty. The reasonable rent is almost always the rent reserved under the expiring lease. The difficulty in the present case arises because the facts are the other way round. It is the tenant who is the plaintiff, and the defendants who are the reversioners under the lease. HOLDING Objective Loss in Compensatory Damages cases The cases to which they have already referred establish, beyond any doubt, that a person who lets out goods on hire, or the landlord of residential property, can recover damages from a trespasser who has wrongfully used his property whether or not he can show that he would have let the property to anybody else, and whether or not he would have used the property himself…. It is sometimes said

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