Home Information Cases Pierre André v Barbara Robinson (2007)

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Pierre André v Barbara Robinson (2007)

Summary

The proceedings concerned the right to possession of the small bedroom in a two bedroom first floor flat, which was situated in a converted dwelling house in North London.

Facts

The defendant had been a join tenant of the flat with two others under an oral tenancy with the claimant's mother, which had been entered into in 1988. Accordingly, it was agreed that the tenancy was a protected tenancy under the Rent Act 1977. In 1996 two of the original tenants left the flat and the defendant remained. She moved into the large bedroom and it was agreed between her and the claimant’s mother that the defendant would try to find a lodger to occupy the small bedroom and make payment directly to the claimant's mother. Two lodgers occupied the small bedroom in succession, each paying monies directly to the claimant’s mother. From 2000 onwards, the claimant's partner moved into the flat and shared the large bedroom with the defendant. More recently their young children had been living in the small bedroom. The claimant brought an action seeking possession of the small bedroom, contending that it did not form part of the defendant's tenancy. The judge ruled that the defendant held a statutory tenancy of the entire flat. The agreement whereby the rent was paid by the two successive occupiers to the landlord directly was simply a good faith agreement, not evidence that the defendant was only entitled to the large room. The claimant appealed.

Held

The appeal would be dismissed. The facts did not support the claimant's argument that there had been a surrender by operation of law of the whole flat, followed by a re-grant of only part of the flat. There was no intelligible case advanced by the claimant about the terms of the supposed re-grant, which made sense having regard of the parties’ living arrangements. The claimant was compelled to argue that the occupancy of the small room also entailed access to the toilet, bathroom, kitchen and living room, but there was nothing to suggest that the defendant had surrendered the flat to that extent. There would have had to have been an unambiguous act or series of acts by which the defendant had given up possession. That was untenable on the facts found by the judge.

Court of Appeal
Buxton, Sedley and Arden LJJ
Judgment date
14 December 2007
References

All ER (D) 235 (Dec) 

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