land law p. 124

  1. david owns in fee simple property le nid unregistered land. he got his mistress clarissa to come live with him. he promised that she could live as long as she wished if she gave up her flat and decorated the kitchen and paid for a second garage for her car. clarissa agreed. she did all that was asked. then relationship ended 3 yrs later. david agreed to sell le nid to eric. eric visited when c was shopping. he was told by david that C ‘s clothes belong to a friend who would soon leave. clarissa wants to stay in the house.

will she be able to succeed

a. while david is he owner?

Clarissa can rely on proprietary estoppel. A representation was made and there was detrimental reliance. There is a constructive trust in her favour. she can stay while D is owner.

b. if david sells to eric?

D deceived E as well as breaking his promise to C. E acted in good faith. as the land was unregistered C could not have protected her interest. E made a reasonably careful inspection of the land.

E has no notice. He will not be bound.


2. in 2018 dave and pam met and decided to wed after pam had finished her course of study which they expected in 2021. dave suggested to pam that she should move into his house registered land. at that time dave said we will get a bigger place when we wed but in the meantime why don’t you sell your flat and move your furniture here. could you also convert the garden into a place for you to study?

pam agreed. she sold her flat moved into david’s house and converted the shed into a study. for 2 yrs david paid all he bills and gave pam a small allowance while she studied. pam looked after the house and garden. 2021 relationship ended and dave gave pam notice to go.

Advise Pam.

There has been a rep and detrimental reliance. There is proprietary estoppel. She has done work but not spent money. It might be argued that as he paid her money she has suffered no loss.

She will probably not be able to stay as she has not spent money or done extra work on the house. she was looking after it for herself as well as for her boyfriend.

what would you advice be if dave had sold the house in 2021 to robert during pam’s absence and robert had given P notice to quit?

Then if robert had no actual or imputed notice then he is not bound by an interest even if she had one.

the issue is what rights Pam has . dave is sole legal owner. she can claim equitable interest by reslting trust or constructive trust. lloyds bank v rosset 1991

but this will probably not work. rosset was savaged by lords in stack v dowden

if she was a licensee then was it a bare licence or a contractual licence? or an estoppel

if there was a contract there must be consideration

pam should argue for estoppel

proprietary estoppel. there was assurance from dave

there was detrimental reliance

unconscionable for him to assert strict legal rights

courts would give effect to equity that has arisen for Pam.

coombes v smith 1986 . what is robert’s position. if pam has an interest in the house it would bind robert if it is on the register or is it supported by actual occupation

as she was in actual occupation then her estoppel equity is a right under registration laws as in LRA sec 116


3. romeo was the sole owner of the freehold title to a house on registered land. after meeting on holiday romeo and juliet began relations in aug 2017. in march 2018 rome asked J to move into house. this required her to sell her home for 125 k

juliet was concerned about her rights after she moved into r house. in april 2018 after evening drinking wine at J birthday R said to her – think of this as your home. i want us to have a meaningful relationship

juliet had a son billy from previous relationship. bully was 5 and had to move school

Ju wanted to pay for the house to be redone so it was to her taste. march 2019 she asked R to give her permission to do this because as she said ”that would make me feel this is my home too”

R said she could refit kitchen bedroom and en suite bathroom. J paid 40 000 K for it. the house had 5 bedrsoom and 8 other rooms

march 2020 romeo decided to construct a guest house on the land attched to his house. J qualified as an architect. she desiged bungaglow. ot was 1 bedroo in modern style with kitchen living room looking at garden

bungalow was special in that it needed no heating – all from solar panels. n roof. these were due to j special knowledge and a an architect

contraction work 100 K which was half funded but R and hald by J. J supervised every stage of work and was completed 4 months ago. on regular occasions during work romeo said to her – you are amazing no one else could do what you do. this is your guesthouse

recently R began a relationship and wants J and B to leave

advise J on her rights under proprietary estoppel.

J has this. She spent a lot of money on it. This is an equitable remedy. She has the right to stay. This is like some cases. She was promised to be allowed to stay. There is constructive trust in her favour. she might have 50% of the house.

proprietary estoppel – problems. does J have rights under proprietary estoppel ? if so what remedy?

problem. 3 phases. 2017 moving into bungalow with child . 2018 redecoration and 2019 bungalow

J needs to show rep reliance and detriment. unconscionability?

2017 does r make assurance or rep? what he said to J about having a home, acquiring no rights in property is not enough. many assurances is enough gillet v holt

silence with the right background is enough thorner v major 2009 . questio is whether there is enough of a detriment. factors about claimant’s children grant v edwards 1986. enough. other cases coombes v smith take opposite view. needs some spending money and personal detriment such as moving kids

unconcionability – depends on the view of encouraging a mother to move into the house. reliance was placed on rep about having house as home. idea of home could be licence to occupy

it is a strained interpretation

that is not a promise of a property right

2018. redecoration. that does not in itself give property right. lloyds bank v rosset. wife supervised redecoration . showed some skills. no rights arise

this is the sort of work expected of a domestic partner. words said by J are about a home. issue might be about R s response. in letting J do the work he might have been indulging her or restricting her ability to remake the home

is he making her believe she has property rights?

2018 seems to give her no rights but J paid for the work so maybe it does give her rights

lissimore v downing 2013 similar case. homeowner allowed gf to move in and she claimed property right with specious suggestion that his saying wouldn’t you like to be lady of the manor? gave her rights in his huge estate

even forming a long term relation did not confer rights.

2019 construction of separate building is more than rosset and redecoration. she uses her knowledge as an architect to make bungalow. J pays half. we know of no representation

can she get rights like thorner v major ? words R says are similar to gillet v holt. they are a rep but ambiguous. maybe not a rep?

if estoppel is made out in 2020 then issue is remedy

giving freehold as in re basham is not rught. because she was not promised anything like that

a bold approach would be divide property. if words in 2018 were a rep then home is half owned.

gillet v holt approach – allow some money and acquisition of property rights

maybe freehold over bungalow

gillet v holt – cottage awarded.

jennings v rice

campbell v griffin graned a rught to mere compensation

40 000 spent on decoration and 50 000 on bungalow

debate about whether jennings v rice is unconscionability

presence of child make it unconscionable.


About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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