Property Law article
An insurance broker was under a duty to satisfy itself that its client understood the obligation of disclosure to insurers. That would usually require a specific oral or written exchange on the subject at the time of placement and again on any subsequent renewal, particularly if the client representative changed. In the absence of such an exchange the insurance broker’s duty to elicit material information for disclosure had to be performed more rigorously. However the claim failed on causation: further enquiries as to previous incidents of fire would have revealed the use by the client of high heat plasma guns in its operations, the prospects of the client obtaining insurance from the same or any other underwriter were highly speculative for such operations. In any event as the client had been conducting its operations in breach of its waste management licence and that had not been disclosed the cover was highly vulnerable to avoidance for further non-disclosure.
This case arises out of a long running dispute between local residents and their council over the plan to allow developers to build new homes on Coatham Common in Redcar. The question for the Supreme Court was whether local residents could regist…
The Claimant land owners were successful in their claim that the Defendants did not own two strips of land abutting their land. The transfers of adjacent parcels of land that abutted land that was later made into a road should be correctly interpreted as granting an immediate right over the land over which a road was proposed to be built.
The Appellant was successful in appealing against the decision of a judge that his purchase of a property and lease back was at an undervalue. Whilst the price was substantially lower than the unencumbered freehold value, the Respondent failed to show section 423 of IA 1986 applied as the premium value of the tenancy made up the shortfall in purchase price.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs v Meier & Ors  UKSC 11 (01 December 2009)
The Appellant Travellers were in part successful in their appeal to the extent that the Court did not have the power to make a possession order in respect of a separate piece of land owned by the Respondent but not occupied by the Appellant Travellers. The decision in the case of Drury v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2004) EWCA Civ 200 (2004) 1 WLR 1906 allowing such an order was incorrect.
The Appellant landowner was successful in appealing against the decision of a judge that the landowner’s asserted right to use a servient track to access his dominant land was limited to all reasonable and usual purposes relating to the use of the land as “garden ground”. On the proper construction of the relevant conveyances the track could lawfully be used for the purposes of building houses on the dominant land and their occupation when built.
This case concerned the right-to-buy under Part V of the Housing Act 1985. The respondent, Mr Hanoman, was the tenant of a flat in London. His landlord was the appellant Council. It is not in dispute that Mr Hanoman was entitled under s.118 of the 1985 Act to the statutory right-to-buy in respect of his flat.
A right-to-buy is triggered by the service on the landlord of a notice that the tenant is claiming the right-to-buy (s.122). Mr Hanoman served a s.122 notice in October 1999. However a dispute then arose between the Council and Mr Hanoman as to whether Mr Hanoman had withdrawn his notice. The Council said that he had; Mr Hanoman said that he had not. The High Court decided in June 2004 that Mr Hanoman’s application to exercise his right-to-buy was still subsisting and that the Council was under a duty to deal with it.
As the Council’s position had been that the notice had been withdrawn, the Council had not served the appropriate notices upon Mr Hanoman under the right-to-buy. Accordingly, in March 2003 Mr Hanoman served a notice of delay upon the Council and in May 2003 he served a subsequent operative notice of delay. Consequently, s. 153B of the 1985 Act came into play which provided that where a secure tenant had served on his landlord an operative notice of delay, until certain other events happened, payment of rent should be treated not only as a payment of rent but also as a payment on account by the tenant which was to be taken into account in calculating the purchase price.
The issue in this appeal was what constituted a “payment of rent” for the purposes of s.153B, or, more particularly, whether the crediting to a tenant’s rent account of housing benefit constituted a “payment of rent” for those purposes.
The House unanimously held that it would reject the literal construction of “payment of rent” that was contended for and concluded that the crediting of housing benefit to the rent account of a local authority tenant as required by s.134(1A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 was a payment of rent for the purposes of s.153B of the 1985 Act. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.
R (on the application of G) (FC) (Appellant) v London Borough of Southwark (Respondents),  UKHL 26
The issue in this case is, if a child of 16 or 17 who has been thrown out of the family home presents himself to a local children’s services authority and asks to be accommodated by them under s.20 of the Children Act 1989, is it open to that authority instead to arrange for him to be accommodated by the local housing authority under the homelessness provisions of Part VII of the Housing Act 1996?
The House unanimously allowed the appeal. The result was that A was accommodated under s.20(1) of the 1989 Act on 11 September 2007, became an “eligible child” within the meaning of paragraph 19B(2) of Schedule 2, and thereafter a “ former relevant child” within the meaning of section 23C(1) of that Act.
The court had to determine whether the owner of a barge which had been moored to mooring rings on the tidal part of the River Thames, had acquired title by way of adverse possession to the river bed for the footprint of the barge. In this case the title had not been registered and the vessel rested on the bed at low tide. It was held that adverse possession did not require physical contact with the river bed at all times It was not required that a squatter has to build on the land and in this case the Defendant had shown a sufficient intention to possess the relevant part of the river bed.
The trial judge had been correct to conclude that a common intention constructive trust had been created with a husband a wife owning a property in equal shares. This was notwithstanding the fact that as a result of the husband’s innocent misrepresentation the couple entered into an agreement surrendering the wife’s sole beneficial interest.