Sharneyford Supplies Ltd v Edge [1987] Ch 305

Contract – Land – Vacant Possession – Tenancy – Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 – Property – Occupation – Damages – Misrepresentation Act 1967 – Agreement – Business Tenancy – Occupation of Land

Facts

In this case, the complainant had entered into a contract to purchase land from the defendant. In this contract, it was expressly stated that there would be vacant possession on completion of the agreement and this would be ensured by the defendant. However, the current occupants of the land refused to leave and they claimed for business tenancy benefits under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. In the course of agreeing the contract, the defendant had not served notice to the tenants regarding vacating the land.

Issues

The issue in this case was whether there was misrepresentation in the contract by the defendant, regarding the vacant possession on completion of the agreement with the complainant. Another issue was whether the complainant would be entitled to a remedy if the defendant was found liable.

Held

It was held by the court that the defendant was liable to pay damages to the complainant for failing to make sure of vacant possession at the time of the completion of the contract, under section 2(1) of the Misrepresentation Act 1967. He had not served notice to the tenants nor had he offered to buy out the tenant’s interest to fulfil the contract with the complainant. The occupant did have a legal right under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to remain in occupation of the land.