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Sharp v Harrison [1922] 1 Ch. 502

Property law – Houses – Restrictive covenants

Facts

The plaintiff and defendant lived next door to one another and were separated by a passageway which belonged to the plaintiff. The defendant bought her house from the plaintiff and the sale included a covenant which prevented her from converting the property into flats and opening the two window which overlooked the passageway between the houses and was directly opposite the lavatory in the plaintiff’s property. The defendant ignored this and converted the house. The plaintiff claimed for an injunction and for damages. Five months later, the defendant leased the flat out on a five-year lease. The plaintiff failed in an action which stated his house would depreciate in value. The plaintiff appealed and re-applied for an injunction.

Issue

The issue for the court to consider, in this instance, was whether the court could issue an injunction to prevent the actions of the defendant and whether such actions breached the covenant agreed between the plaintiff and defendant at the original sale of the properties. If an injunction was not appropriate in the circumstances, the court would also have to consider the extent of the damages that could be paid.

Held

The court dismissed the plaintiff’s action for an injunction on the basis that it was not right to prevent the defendant as there was no damage caused and only a five-year tenancy with the tenant in the flat. However, the court did grant nominal damages as the opening of the window was a breach of the covenant as agreed by the parties.


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