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About this book

This popular textbook on Land Law provides a clear, straightforward and concise introduction to this rich and adaptable area of the law. It uses accessible language and stresses a full understanding of a few important cases rather than a superficial understanding of many. The eleventh edition of this textbook has been thoroughly updated to reflect recent cases. Useful features that help guide the student include key concepts at the start of each chapter, self-test exercises, and diagrams illustrating how to apply the law, as well as suggestions for further reading. The extensive companion website contains a glossary, quizzes and suggested techniques on how to tackle questions and problems, available at macmillanihe.com/Davys-Land-Law-11e

This is an ideal companion for students studying land law as part of a law degree or on the GDL/CPE; it is perfect also for students taking the subject as part of a surveying or estate management course.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction to land law

Abstract
Land law is an interesting and challenging subject, which engages with profound questions about the way we choose to live our lives and the values of the society in which we live them. For humans to function together as a society, even a technological, high-speed society where transactions are as likely to be virtual as material, they need to share the physical environment around them. The law of England and Wales calls this environment land . Frequently, and especially where the supply of land is limited, as in England and Wales, different people will want to put the same land to different purposes. Sometimes these purposes are reconcilable, sometimes they are not. Consequently, the task of the land lawyer is to discern what people want to do with the land available to them, before deploying the legal rules available to enable those people to achieve their goals. It is important when studying land law, and especially at the beginning of those studies, not to allow its sometimes dry and legalistic façade, created by its artificial language and its technical concepts, to conceal this fundamental issue: the land law of England and Wales is ultimately about sharing out the enjoyment of part of a small island on the north-west edge of Europe.
Mark Davys

Chapter 2. The foundations of land law

Abstract
It is now normal, when a couple purchase a home together, for them to do so in joint names. Indeed, it will often be the only way that they can do so as both their salaries will be needed to pay the instalments on the mortgage that they almost certainly need to finance their purchase. It has not always been so. In the third quarter of the twentieth century, when a husband and wife purchased a home it was more usual for the land to be conveyed into the name of the husband alone, even if the wife was able to make some contribution towards its purchase in her own right. However, when Mr and Mrs Boland purchased their first matrimonial home in 1961 they did so in joint names; they were both in work and both contributed to the cost. Eight years later they sold this house and used the proceeds to finance the purchase of 11 Ridge Park, Purley. Although there was no doubt that Mrs Boland contributed significantly to the cost of the new house, it was (apparently without her realising it) conveyed into the sole name of Mr Boland. Mr Boland was a builder and he borrowed large sums from Williams & Glyn’s Bank to help finance his business. The bank, unknown to Mrs Boland, insisted that the loans be secured on the house (that is, the bank took a mortgage over the matrimonial home). Sadly, Mr Boland’s once-thriving business failed, and the bank sought to enforce its charge. Mrs Boland claimed that she had an interest in the land by virtue of her contribution to the purchase price, and that this interest took priority over the bank’s mortgage. The potential consequences for Williams & Glyn’s Bank (and other lenders) meant that the case was ultimately heard by the House of Lords, whose decision is reported in Williams & Glyn’s Bank Ltd v Boland [1981] AC 487 (HL).
Mark Davys

Chapter 3. What is ‘land’?

Abstract
For most of the twentieth century, Holtsfield, near Swansea in South Wales, was the site of a village of chalets (wooden bungalows). The chalets were built as holiday homes before the Second World War, but over the course of time, people began to occupy them on a permanent basis. One such person was David Morris, who, in 1971, acquired the chalet on Lot 6. This was a two-bedroom wooden structure that rested on, but was not attached to, a foundation of concrete blocks. There he lived, in return for the payment of an annual fee to the owner of the site, renewing and replacing his home as required.
Mark Davys

Title

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Registered title

Abstract
Ownership of land in England and Wales is based upon the concept of the legal estate. As is explained in Chapter 2, land owners do not actually own the physical land. Instead they own the entitlement to that land for a period of time: that is, they own one of the two legal estates of freehold and leasehold. Similarly, all other property rights over land are not granted over the physical land as such, but are derived from an estate in that land. The main interests are considered in Chapters 10–14. Any one estate may be subject to a large number of different interests, as Figure 4.1 illustrates.
Mark Davys

Chapter 5. Unregistered land

Abstract
In 1978, Mr and Mrs Tizard purchased a plot of land at Lechlade, on the edge of the Cotswolds and just north of the river Thames. Although they effectively contributed to the purchase in equal shares, legal title to the land was in Mr Tizard’s name alone. There they built Willowdown, to be home to them and their two children. Unfortunately, their relationship became strained, and sometime in 1982 Mrs Tizard moved into the spare bedroom. Eventually, she began to spend some nights away from the house, but early each morning she would drive to Willowdown to give the children breakfast, and she returned there each evening so that she and the children could eat their evening meal together. On the frequent occasions when Mr Tizard did not spend the night at the house, Mrs Tizard would stay at Willowdown overnight. Most of her clothes, toiletries and nightwear were there. In April 1983, Mr Tizard obtained a three-month loan of £66,000 secured by way of mortgage on Willowdown. Two months later, Mrs Tizard arrived at the house to find a note from Mr Tizard saying that he was going on holiday abroad with one of the children. Neither returned. The loan was not repaid, and the lender sought possession of the house.
Mark Davys

The estates and interests

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Freehold land

Abstract
Is it true that only the monarch can own land in England and Wales? This is the sort of question that is sometimes asked of the land lawyer at certain types of party. Unfortunately, there is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, and, even more unfortunately, many partygoers are not prepared to linger long enough to discover the full truth. One fairly concise answer to the question can be found on the Crown Estate’s website as part of the answer to ‘What is an escheat?’ www.thecrownestate.co.uk/en-gb/resources/faqs):
Mark Davys

Chapter 7. The leasehold estate

Abstract
Oval House is a three-storey Victorian mansion block typical of those found in Rushcroft Road, London SW2. The London Borough of Lambeth purchased many of the properties in the area in the 1970s, intending to level them to make way for a new residential development. However, the scheme was delayed, and many of the buildings were occupied by members of a ‘vibrant squatting community’ (something of its story was told at www.urban75.org/brixton/features/rushcroft.html). In 1986, the council agreed that London & Quadrant Housing Trust could use Oval House to provide short-term accommodation for people in urgent need of housing. The agreement between the council and the Trust was called ‘a licence’. There was no question of it being a lease: in these circumstances, a lease could only have been created with the express consent of the Secretary of State under section 32(3) of the Housing Act 1985 and no such consent was obtained.
Mark Davys

Chapter 8. Leasehold covenants

Abstract
The previous chapter examined the characteristics of different kinds of lease and how they can be created and ended. A properly drafted business lease or long residential lease will be lengthy and detailed and probably devoted mostly to the obligations of the tenant. On the other hand, some short leases, especially of residential tenancies, may not even be in writing, and any express agreement may have gone no further than to stipulate the amount of rent payable and the frequency with which the tenant should pay it. Even the simplest of leases, however, will contain many more terms than this, and it is fundamental that the parties should understand:
Mark Davys

Chapter 9. Licences

Abstract
In 1936, Mr Errington senior bought 27 Milvain Avenue in Newcastle as a home for his son, who had recently married the defendant (Mary Errington). He paid £250 in cash (which he told Mary was a present) towards the house and borrowed the balance of £500 from a building society on the security of the house. The house was conveyed into the name of Mr Errington senior, and he also took the mortgage from the building society in his sole name. However, he handed the building society book to Mary, telling her not to part with it and that the house would belong to her and her husband when they had paid the last instalment on the mortgage.
Mark Davys

Chapter 10. Easements and profits

Abstract
Teign Valley Road runs north–south through Christow, a small village on the edge of Dartmoor. To the east side of the road is a terrace of cottages known as Teign Terrace. Figure 10.1 shows a simplified plan of the three cottages, Nos 1, 1A and 2, at the northern end of the terrace.
Mark Davys

Chapter 11. Mortgages

Abstract
In early 1990, Mrs Norgan was in serious danger of losing her home, a period farmhouse in Wiltshire which she shared with her husband and their five sons. By May of that year, the arrears of interest on her £90,000 mortgage amounted to over £7,000 and were set to double by the end of the year. The mortgage lender had lost patience and applied to the county court for an order allowing it to take possession of the mortgaged house and land.
Mark Davys

Chapter 12. Covenants in freehold land

Abstract
In 1960, Mr Garland decided to divide Walford House, in the Somerset village of Combwich, into two separate dwellings. As the building was roughly L-shaped, it was relatively easily divided between the leg (which became Walford Cottage) and the larger foot (which continued to be known as Walford House). However, the structure of the building meant that the roof of Walford House also covered one end of Walford Cottage.
Mark Davys

Sharing interests in land

Frontmatter

Chapter 13. Concurrent co-ownership

Abstract
There are many ways of dividing ownership of land. Indeed, many of the preceding chapters of this book have been concerned with how the different rights enjoyable over a single parcel of land can be shared among a number of people. Examples include the relationships between a tenant (entitled to possession) and a lessor (entitled to the rent) and between an owner of land and their neighbour who is allowed to use a path over it (an easement). In none of these cases do the various parties share all the rights that accompany the ownership of land (or, more strictly, ownership of a particular legal estate in the land). The rights are divided up between the freeholder and those with lesser interests in the land.
Mark Davys

Chapter 14. Trusts of land

Abstract
The general policy of English law is to ensure, so far as is practicable, that land should be capable of being bought and sold without undue delay or expense. At the same time, it is important that land can be shared by more than one owner with some measure of security, in order to satisfy the different needs and ambitions of landowners (such as those set out in Table 13.1). As readers of Chapters 2 and 13 will already appreciate, those responsible for the reforms of 1925 chose the trust as the mechanism by which to balance these two sets of demands. All trusts including land are now regulated under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA) 1996, and most of this chapter is devoted to the rules contained in Part I of that Act. However, some knowledge of the earlier law is necessary. Much of the old law of trusts remains in place beneath TOLATA 1996, and some of the pre-1996 rules will almost certainly be encountered when reading earlier cases that remain relevant today.
Mark Davys

Acquiring interests in land

Frontmatter

Chapter 15. Land contracts and other formalities

Abstract
The most common transaction concerning land is almost certainly the sale and purchase of a freehold title containing a house and garden, combined, in most cases, with the simultaneous grant of a mortgage in favour of a lender who has provided a considerable proportion of the purchase moneys. This is the type of transaction considered in this section by way of an illustration of a ‘typical’ land transaction. However, in recent years, the impact of the economic climate on earnings, and upon the lending policies of major banks and building societies, has meant that many potential buyers, especially first-time buyers, cannot afford to purchase a home outright. Some may be able to buy a share in a house with friends or family (see Chapters 13 and 14 for the rules regulating co-ownership); others may purchase a share in the freehold title and pay rent (usually to a social landlord) on the other share under a shared ownership scheme. Many, however, will find that they have little alternative but to rent their homes, often paying rent to a private landlord who has been able to purchase property with the aid of a so-called buy-to-let mortgage.
Mark Davys

Chapter 16. Adverse possession

Abstract
Numbers 31 and 33 Rosedale Road are neighbouring houses in the suburbs of Epsom in Surrey. When they were built in 1934, the two houses shared a common drive. The owner of each house had title to the half of the drive running alongside their house with an easement to use the half of the drive owned by their neighbour. For convenience, the fence between the houses was built close to Number 33, which gave the impression that the drive belonged to Number 31. As it happened, the owner of Number 33 did not use the drive and, from 1952, did not even have access to it. In 1962, the new owners of Number 31 paved the drive and used it for parking their cars. When the Williams family moved into Number 33 in 1977 they decided to pursue their apparent legal right, as the ‘paper owners’, to their half of the drive.
Mark Davys

Chapter 17. Implied trusts of family-owned land

Abstract
Thus begins the judgment of Wall lj in Jones v Kernott [2010] 1 WLR 2401 (CA). The relationship between the parties had lasted from 1984 to 1993. They never married, but they had two children and in 1984 they purchased a house in joint names. Ms Jones conceded that had the house been sold when the relationship first broke down, she and Mr Kernott would have been entitled to equal shares in the proceeds. However, this was not what happened. Instead, Ms Jones continued to live in the house with the children, paying the mortgage and all the other outgoings. She did not ask for, and did not receive, any financial assistance from Mr Kernott, who purchased another house in his sole name in 1996. It was not until ten years later that Mr Kernott sought to recover his share in the family home. The question was whether he was still entitled to half of the value of the house or whether the proportion of his share had changed after he left the house and ceased to contribute to the mortgage. The Supreme Court gave its judgment in the case in November 2011. How it finally answered the question is considered in Section 17.3.2.
Mark Davys

Chapter 18. Proprietary estoppel

Abstract
Cheddar is a large village in the county of Somerset, in the south-west of England, famous for its cheese, its caves, and the largest gorge in the United Kingdom. Steart Farm lies to the south of the village and was farmed by Peter Thorner until his death in 2005. Peter had inherited the farm from his first wife, Sarah in 1976, at which time it comprised some 350 acres. Peter was a man of few words, especially after the death of Sarah. This may not be untypical of farmers in the area around Cheddar, whose conversation can seem somewhat indirect to those who are not part of the local community. Land was bought, and land was sold over the years, and when Peter died, Steart Farm comprised between 460 and 560 acres in total, together with the farmhouse. David Thorner was the son of Peter’s first cousin and began helping Peter at Steart Farm soon after Sarah’s death in the late 1970s. By 1985, David was working 18 hours a day, seven days per week, split between his father's farm and Peter's farm, with the work on Peter’s farm taking up more than half of his total time. Over time, David came to hope, and then to expect, that he would inherit Peter’s farm. Nothing was ever said directly, although in 1990 Peter did give David the bonus notice on two assurance policies on his own life and said, ‘That’s for my death duties.’ David interpreted this as Peter’s way of saying that he would inherit Steart Farm on Peter’s death. Indeed, Peter’s remark in 1990 was a major factor in David’s decision not to pursue other opportunities that became available to him. However, when Peter died in 2005, he did not leave a valid will, and the farm, worth in the region of £2.4 million, passed to Peter’s sisters and nieces under the intestacy rules.
Mark Davys
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