Archive for December 2005
The Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s decision that it was obvious a mistake had been made in drafting a lease. The word “landlord” in clause 10 should have read “tenant”, otherwise this would have rendered the meaning of the clause absurd. If there had been a need for the court to order rectification it would have done so as the four conditions of a unilateral mistake were made out.
The housing association let a property under an assured tenancy whereby rent could be increased in June of each year. The association wished to change this to April and wrote to the tenants informing them of this. The association sought possession and this was defended on the basis that rent was not due as the landlord had departed from the contractual rent variation procedures. The Court held that in this case time was of the essence in the procedure and there was no scope to apply the presumption that time was not of the essence.
The House of Lords found that the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 did not render a clause under the lease void. The said clause meant that the tenant had to pay rent arrears under the headlease as the clause limited in time the landlord’s liability for rent arrears. The statute was not intended to curtail the parties’ right to limit liability under covenants from the outset in whatever way they agreed.