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Law Notes Land Law Notes

Requirements For Leases Notes

Updated Requirements For Leases Notes

Land Law Notes

Land Law

Approximately 987 pages

Land Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB land law cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

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Requirements for Leases

Features of Leases

  • Can all be sold or assigned to purchasers

    • Although will normally need consent of Landlord to do this

  • Are normally an estate recognised by Law

    • They allow enjoyment of land for a fixed period of time

    • Two tenancies which are not estates though:

      • Tenancy at Will

      • Tenancy at Sufferance

Requirements of Leases

  • Rent

    • Normally a feature, but a Lease can exist without rent.

      • Ashburn Anstalt v Arnold [1989]:

        • Fox LJ: Lord Templeman could not have meant that you needed rent as well as exclusive possession

          • Indeed, this would be contrary to LPA 1925 s.205(1)(xxvii) which states that lease can exist “whether or not rent”

    • Courts will also try to give effect to agreements where parties specify rent will be agreed in the future

      • Agreements to agree won’t stand

        • References to market value at different times will suffice

        • Or that rent will change from year to year will also be okay.

  • Commencement

    • Leases must have a certain beginning (and a certain ending)

      • LPA s.149(3): Lease may either commence immediately or up to 21 years upon agreement as parties stipulate

        • s.205 (1) (xxvii): Leases that don’t commence immediately = “future estates”

        • BUT LRA 2002 s.4(1)(d) says that such leases need to be registered to bind purchasers of future leased land – they are not overriding interests.

      • However, contracts for leases are not covered by this statutory requirement

        • Thus, you can agree by contract in 2005 to grant a lease in the year 2030, to take effect in 2035

          • Cos only five years passes between the grant and commencement.

        • Smith: convenient result of this is that covenants to renew long leases are valid

          • As a covenant to renew a lease exceeding 21 years will invariably be exercised more than 21 years from date of covenant

  • Length

    • While parties can agree on whatever length they wish for a lease

      • This must be certain and fixed at the time of commencement, although it need not be certain at grant

        • Law is concerned only with maximum duration, however

          • So lease can legitimately be terminated before this duration for forfeiture.

    • While Law will not strike down periodic tenancies for a lack of certainty (i.e. where L and T agree that T will take possession and pay rent for a week/month/year at a time, terminable by each party depending on notice) it will strike down anything else:

      • Prudential Assurance Co v London Residuary Body [1992]: N sold strip of land in front of shop to X which then leased it back to N until road widening project went forward. This never went forward and in 1988 LRB (successor to X) attempted to stop P, as successor in title, from using the land.

        • Lord Templeman (maj):

          • S.205(1)(xxvii) holds that terms of years absolute =

            • term of years either certain or liable to determination by notice, operation of law or on provision of redemption or any other event

              • term here does not fall within this definition

          • The possession and rent paying of the “tenant” under the void lease created an implied periodic yearly tenancy which can be ended by six months notice

            • But this cannot give effect to the term which only allows the landlord to give notice to quit on the road widening

              • This would contradict concept that a grant for an uncertain term does not create a lease.

        • Lord Browne Wilkinson (dis):

          • N’s successors in title will now be left with the freehold of some retail premises which don’t look out onto street

            • Bizarre outcome comes from ancient and technical rule of law who nobody has ever shown any point to.

  • Exclusive Possession

    • Every lease must involve exclusive possession

      • Smith: other factors, such as term and rent, may disappear, as in tenancies at will or sufferance

      • But exclusive possession is so fundamental a requirement it is rarely challenged.

        • Street v Mountford [1985]: C agreed with M that M, in exchange for 37 a week, could have exclusive occupation of two rooms. The agreement described itself throughout as a license, and either party was entitled to terminate the agreement by giving 14 days notice.

          • Lord Templeman:

            • Fact that both parties appear to intend that they both should only have a personal right is irrelevant

              • If what you have both freely agreed satisfies the requirement of a lease by Law.

                • Then it is a lease no matter what you try and call it.

            • The manufacture of a five pronged instrument for manual digging results in a fork,

              • even if the manufacturer, unfamiliar with the English language,

                • insists what has been created is a spade.


  • Was Prudential a harsh decision as stated by Lord Browne Wilkinson?

    • Wilde: Compare to Periodic Tenances

      • With periodic tenancies certainty achieved because the term is fixed as ending after a year, but being automatically renewable unless consent withheld

        • If we added in a restriction “until it is needed for road widening” then this would still satisfy the certainty requirements

          • You would still have a yearly periodic tenancy renewable each year

            • Just one party would have its right to withhold consent limited.

      • So why can we be restricted from withholding consent for a term of 5 years with an annual periodic tenancy but not one year?

        • Moi: 2 examples are entirely different

          • 5 year term can be cut short by the restriction (need for road widening) but renewal is limited to 5 times so can be ended on 6th occasion.

          • Year long periodic tenancy will continue until the event occurs, and will keep renewing perpetually.

            • It’s the fact that there is no upper limit on the number of times it can be renewed that is the problem – its length is uncertain.

    • Smith: Nature of leasehold different from freehold

      • Nature of freehold estate is to last for an indeterminate length of time (e.g. for life per life estate, forever per fee simple absolute...)

        • Nature of leases is entirely different – it is for a specific length of time

          • Would be unable to distinguish between lease and freehold if allowed...

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