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PRICE V. STRANGE FACTS The defendant, Mrs. Strange, is and was at all material times the lessee of 96 Lexham Gardens, London, for the residue of a term of 99 years from June 24, 1933. The property is divided into flats and maisonettes and the plaintiff, who is a builder, was living in the maisonette on the first and second floors, and had been so since 1966 or 1967, but his tenancy had expired in 1971 and he was holding over. He was sharing this accommodation with his brother and sister-in-law and another gentleman, which was a breach of the covenants in the expired lease, so that if he were to have a fresh tenancy this term would require to be altered. The plaintiff's position was, therefore, very insecure, but the defendant was also in trouble because the premises were out of repair and her landlords had served a notice under section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925. The defendant did not live on the premises but at 122 Lexham Gardens. She had a friend and companion, a Mrs. Walsh, who occupied the basement flat at no.
96. The landlord's notice caused concern to the defendant, Mrs. Walsh and the plaintiff, and on the morning of Sunday, February 10, 1974, Mrs. Walsh approached the plaintiff on the subject, and as a result he went that evening to see the defendant. After some discussion, they reached an oral agreement, and the next day the plaintiff wrote a letter to the defendant recording what had happened, and in the fourth paragraph of that letter he said: "...in consideration of carrying out the necessary repairs with all reasonable speed, thereby putting the property into a good state of repair by effecting external repairs and decorations, including extensive repairs to the roof and by effecting internal repairs and decorations to the common parts of the property, upon the completion of these repairs, you will grant to me and I will accept, a new lease of my flat being the first floor maisonette of the above property, for a term to expire upon the expiry of your existing lease of the entire property, (less a nominal reversion) at a rent throughout of PS600 per annum, and otherwise upon the terms of the previous lease dated May 31, 1966, except that the existing use of the flat is permitted, in so far as it is at variance with the terms of that lease." The evidence, as the judge found, showed that "the plaintiff carried out work of repair and redecoration to the interior of common parts of no. 96 between the middle of February and the middle of May 1974 and that since then the
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