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9.1.1 Leases Lecture – Introduction

Welcome to the ninth topic in this module guide – Leases! A lease can be defined as a contract by which one party conveys land or property to another for a specified time, usually in return for a periodic payment. This specified period of time can be either fixed or may be periodically extended, and can be for any amount of years as per the Law of Property Act 1925, s 205(1)(xxvii). When the lease comes to an end, ownership of the property returns to the landlord (also known as the lessee).

A leasehold is defined in the Law of Property Act 1925 as an estate in the land for a term of ‘years absolute’ (Law of Property Act 1925, s.1(1)(b)). A lease (or as it is otherwise called, a leasehold) is conferred by a landlord (also called the lessor) on the tenant (the lessee). The lessor grants to the lessee a right of exclusive possession for a finite period of time. Any area can be designated as a leasehold so long as it grants, for a definite period, a right of ‘exclusive domain of a particular individual’. Aside from the restriction on the period of time for which a leaseholder may own land, there is no substantial distinction in the rights between leaseholders and freeholders. As the court has observed, the tenant leaseholder is equally able to exercise rights over land as would a freeholder.

Goals for this section:

  • To be able to understand the difference between a freehold interest (also known as a fee simple absolute in possession) and a leasehold interest.
  • To be able to identify the three key components of the ‘term of years’ aspect of leaseholds.

Objectives for this section:

  • To understand the legal principles represented by the case law in this area, such as; Street v Mountford, Antonaides v Villiers, Bruton v London & Quadrant Housing Trust, and AG Securities v Vaughan.
  • To appreciate the obligations which a landlord owes a tenant and vice versa.

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