Real Estate Tip of the Week: All the fun of the fair - DAC Beachcroft

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Real Estate Tip of the Week: All the fun of the fair

Published 13 febrero 2017

Lord Templeman in Street v Mountford said if a man makes a five pronged implement for manual digging then he has made a fork, regardless of whether he called it a spade. In certain respects, a name is nothing.

This principle was considered again in the recent case of Holland v Oxford City Council. The Court was asked to establish whether Mrs Holland's occupation of the same two fairground pitches at St Giles' Fair in Oxford for 3-4 days in early September every year had created a tenancy.

There was no formal document, but the parties had used language indicative of a lease - reference to the site holders as 'tenants of the fair' and to pitches being 'let', and each year conditions of letting were issued by the Council. In everyday parlance these words would suggest an intention to create some form of tenancy or lease, but the Court concluded that this was not sufficient in legal terms.

The key element to establish a tenancy was if Mrs Holland had exclusive possession of the pitches as between her and the Council, and that was missing.

There can be a tendency when documenting short term occupational arrangements to over-complicate the drafting and to include wording to protect the landowner. In using that language, the landowner may inadvertently give the occupier greater rights. It is better to concentrate on using appropriate language for the agreement reached, and if there is any doubt then the agreement should be contracted out of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, to avoid the tenant having rights to renew the arrangement.

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