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This is a relic of an ancient custom attached to Michaelmas tenancies, and cannot be set aside without prejudicing the interests of the incomer, by depriving him of the use of the pulse or carvings for which he pays indirectly in service. The rights of the incoming tenant should be maintained, otherwise subsequent tenants will suffer.
GILBERT MURRAY, Fellow.
Replies to Query CCCXXIX. (Vol. VIII., p. 165). AGRICULTURAL HOLDINGS ACT, 1883—LAYING DOWN PERMANENT
Under the provisions of the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1883, an outgoing tenant is entitled to be paid for the improvement such sum as fairly represents the value of the improvement to an incoming tenant. This appears to me to be practically the cost of the permanent grass, seeds, and labour, with, perhaps, the addition of a year's rent, for the reason that the new tenant can produce the saine result by sowing down the land himself. If the compensation is to be measured by years' purchase I should think four or six years' purchase of the improved value sufficient.
According to my experience tenants are usually willing to sow land down to permanent pasture if the landlord will pay for the seeds.
W. STURGE, Past President.
The words of the Act of 1883 are “ the value of the improvement to an incoming tenant.” Is he to have a lease of 21 years, or be merely a yearly tenant? If the former, the compensation would be very heavy, if the latter, extremely small. In practice, the above conditions must be ignored. Generally the payment is for the cost of seed and part of the labour.
I have always been careful that no client of mine should be placed in the predicament indicated, by providing the tenant with the seed.
J. R. EVE, Fellow.
Replies to Query CCCXXX. (Vol. VIII., p. 165). DILAPIDATIONS-SURVEYORS' FEES-LIABILITY-REPAIRING
(A.) Yes, if the lessee has committed a breach of his repairing covenants, he can avoid forfeiture by doing the repairs and paying consequent damage (if any) to the reversion, and the reasonable costs incurred in consequence of his breaches, viz. : the costs incurred by the lessor to his solicitor for preparing the notices and the fees of his surveyor for preparing the schedule of breaches.
ARTHUR HARSTON, Fellow.
(A.) I do not think the lessor can recover from the lessee the expenses incurred in solicitors' and surveyors' fees for the preparation of extract from the lease and schedule of dilapidations, unless there has been a breach giving rise to a right of re-entry, or forfeiture, which at the request of the lessee is waived by lessor in writing. In such case costs and expenses properly incurred are recoverable, 55 & 56 Vict, chap. 13.
(B.) Assuming the grained work to be in good condition, I should consider the covenant would be satisfied by twice varnishing once in three years.
WM. BENNETT ROGERS, Fellow.
Replies to Query CCCXXXI. (Vol. 1111., p. 166).
PUBLIC HEALTH ACT, 1875—LANDLORD'S LIABILITY TO TENANT.
The answer to this question depends mainly upon whether the agreement referred to in the last paragraph actually exists or not, and, if the former, then upon the wording of covenants.
In the absence of definite information upon these points, the following extracts from Redman and Lyons' Law of Landlord and Tenant may be
" In the absence of contract there is no obligation on the part of the " landlord to put premises into a habitable condition or to do any “ repairs whatever upon them, though by neglecting to do so they become “ uninhabitable."
“Covenants to repair must be construed by regard being had to the age and class of the buildings and the state of repair upon entry.”
“ The rule of law is that the occupier and not the owner of premises is “primâ facie liable for damages resulting from a nuisance arising upon " demised premises from the same being in a ruinous or dangerous condi“ tion, although as between himself and the landlord he is not compellable “ to repair.”
“A landlord by letting premises in a ruinous condition does not “ become liable for any damage to the tenant or his guests or customers."
Something may hinge upon what passed between the landlord and the tenant in the case quoted, when the landlord promised to pay the rent of a house near by. If the tenant did not then mention a possible claim for compensation for disturbance, he can hardly be entitled to raise the question now, especially as he did not exercise his right nor accept the landlord's offer to terminate the tenancy before the closing order was mad
F. PUNCHARD, Fellow.
B. The fact that the tenant shifted into another house which he had hired on the strength of the landlord's promise that he, the landlord, would pay the rent, in my opinion constitutes an agreement for the settlement of the difficulty which has apparently been acted on by the tenant. I doubt therefore whether he could in law substantiate a further claim unless there was some reservation or point raised by the tenant not disclosed in the question. In equity I think that the tenant is entitled to some consideration towards the cost of shifting, and the consequent trouble and inconvenience which he has sustained, as clearly he is entitled to and could claim of the landlord the use of the house which he had taken with his occupation, and if the landlord had fulfilled his covenants to keep the main walls and roofs in tenantable repair, the house could scarcely have been in such a condition as to allow the public authorities to interfere. The question of recent purchase by the present landlord or the knowledge of the tenant as to the possibility of what might take place has in my opinion nothing to do with the legal aspect of the case.
E. A. RAWLENCE, Fellon.
Certainly not ; neither do I think the landlord could have been compelled to provide another house, although he apparently voluntarily and most properly did so. In the case of a tenant being rendered homeless by fire, there is often a clause in agreements securing him a proportionate abatement of rent until his house is rendered habitable, but I never heard of a landlord being held responsible for damage of goods or cost of removal. There is no other disturbance than this in the case referred to.
G. W. RAIKES, Fellor.
Reply to Query CCCXXXII. (Vol. VIIl., p. 166).
If there was a surrender by operation of law, then the nature of A's tenancy to B is again a matter of fact as to which there will be a conflict of evidence as to what was the actual agreement, aided by the probabilities of A giving up a certain for an uncertain tenure. It may have been
a tenancy from year to year or at will. If the former, a notice to quit will be necessary, and A will have the ordinary rights of such a tenancy ; if the latter, demand of possession only will be necessary.
In any event A will have no claim against B for compensation by reason of the landlord giving a notice to quit ; but if such notice affects A's tenancy it would be ill-natured not to do so.
J. H. REDMAN, Associate.
Reply to Query CCCXXXIII. (Vol. VIII. p. 167).
The answer to this query appears obviously to be that his liabilities are determined by the covenants of the lease which he voluntarily signed, except that he should not be held liable for damage proved to have ac. crued before his term commenced. In this case it is stated that there is a strict repairing covenant, and it is nothing to the purpose to say that " the premises were old at the time of granting the lease.” This appears to be essentially a case of caveat emptor, in other words, the proposing lessee, before signing the lease, might well have pleaded that, the premises being more or less worn out, he should be exempted from strict repairing covenants, but as he deliberately took upon himself the full liabilities attaching to a repairing lease, it remains for him to fulfil them. The fact of the lease being a renewable one does not afford him any relief.
Speaking of renewable leases, it would seem that, in the case of those renewable for ever on payment of a fine, as in the well-known example of the Bond Street Conduit leases granted by the City Corporation, it is unfair that the lessee should be called upon to renew or reconstruct drainage, main walls, or such other portions of the fabric as in the course of time may be found necessary. But even here the hardship is not so great as may be thought. For either the rental value has so much improved that the lessee cheerfully fulfils his obligations, or he obtains relief by ceasing to renew his term.
I have long advocated the adoption of a system which, in my judgment, would go far to place the vexntious question of dilapidations upon a more satisfactory basis. Let every repairing lease contain, as an appendix, a schedule of “wants of repair” or “present condition of the premises,” setting forth in detail all existing defects and deficiencies ; by these means the lessee would be efficiently safeguarded at the end of his term, while at the same time the landlord would get his rights. To illustrate my meaning, I cite a case where a large house having been let on agreement with repairing conditions for one year, a claim was sent in at the end of the tenancy by an eminent City firm, including a charge of £25 for a hideous flank wall settlement that, to my knowledge, had existed for a quarter of a century. There was not much difficulty in proving this but, in the event of two stranger surveyors meeting on such a case, great injustice might have been done, and I have very little doubt often is done.
WALTER SIMMs, Fellow.
Reply to Query CCCXXXIV. (Vol VIII., p. 167).
VICT. III., CHAPTER 15, SECTION 20.–COLLECTION OF TITHE
The tithe rent-charge is not payable quarterly, but half-yearly, and the half-yearly payment must be calculated on the averages published on the preceding 1st of January.
WM. STURGE, Past-President.
The applicants for the tithe rent-charge were wrong, and their mistake arose from their splitting up the half-yearly payment due on 1st April, 1896, and treating it as if it were a quarterly payment, and the agent to the landowner was right in decliving to pay the year's tithe rent-charge due on 1st October, 1896, so calculated.
Tithe rent-charge is a half-yearly and never a quarterly payment, as by the Tithe Acts it is made payable " by two equal half-yearly payments."
These half-yearly payments fall due on 1st January and 1st July, or on 1st April and 1st October, as the case may be (but on no other days), and whichever half-yearly dates were fixed at the commutation of the tithes of any parish or township they are now unalterable. When in the parochial agreement or award made at the commutation no dates were named, the tithe rent-charge is payable on 1st January and 1st July.
The averages published in the London Gazette in January, 1896, would govern the value of the year's tithe rent-charge that became due on 1st October, 1896, and it would be wrong and unwarranted by anything in the section quoted (or in any other section) to split up the half-yearly payment due on 1st April, 1896, into moieties, or to calculate the value of any part of it on any but the 1896 averages.
The amount of the half-year's tithe rent-charge payable on 1st January, 1896, would be governed by the averages published in January, 1895, that being “the January next preceding such balf-yearly day of payment."
HARLEY M. GRELLIER, Fellow.
I know of no custom by which tithe is calculated quarterly. If halfyearly, as is usual, then it would be right that from October 1, 1895, to April 1, 1896, the amount should be based on the average of the year 1895.
J. R. EVE, Fellow.