The distinction between leases and licences ought to be clear! The former is proprietary, the latter merely personal. Unfortunately, too many decisions of our courts have muddled this distinction.”
Gareth recently purchased the registered freehold title to Blackacre from Rudolf. Blackacre is a large plot of land that consists of a field, a large house on the west side of the property, and a small shed on the east side. Gareth plans to develop the land by building a hotel on the site.
Gareth comes to your office seeking advice as a number of things have transpired since the purchase was finalised.
Rahul is a neighbour who runs a bed and breakfast next door to Blackacre. He has produced a deed from last year, in which Rudolf promises, on behalf of himself and his successors in title, never to open a hotel on Blackacre.
Juraj, another neighbour, has been storing his bicycles in the shed on the east side of the property. He also claims he has the right to cross the fields of Blackacre in order to reach the cyclists path that runs along the west border of the property. He has produced a written note from Rudolf granting him these permissions.
The next day, Gareth saw Juraj crossing the field of Blackacre on his bike. He saw Juraj get off his bike in the middle of the field and pick up a golden bracelet that must have been dropped there by somebody. When Gareth confronted Juraj about this, Juraj insisted that the bracelet belonged to him as its finder.
Olympia claims that she has the right to stay in one of the rooms on the top floor of the house. She claims that a month prior to the purchase, Rudolf told her that she could have exclusive use of the room for two years at a rent of £65 per week.
Karel, Rudolf’s partner claims to have contributed half of the purchase price of Blackacre when Rudolf purchased it from the previous owners in 2005. He has been living in the ground floor flat of the house but was on holiday when Gareth inspected the property prior to the purchase.
Gareth wishes to know whether he is bound by the various third party rights. He also wishes to know whether he can claim the bracelet from Juraj.
“The distinction between leases and licences ought to be clear! The former is proprietary, the latter merely personal. Unfortunately, too many decisions of our courts have muddled this distinction.”
Discuss with reference to case law.
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