Berrisford v Mexfield Housing Co-Operative Ltd: SC 9 Nov 2011

The tenant appealed against an order granting possession. The tenancy, being held of a mutual housing co-operative did not have security but was in a form restricting the landlord’s right to recover possession, and the tenant resisted saying that it was worded to create a lease for life (applying the LRB case).
Held: The tenant’s appeal succeeded. Despite the agreement being from month to month, it was clearly intended only to be determinable under the relative provisions. A periodic tenancy with an invalid fetter on the landlord’s right to determine should be treated in the same way as a tenancy for a fixed, if indeterminate, term. The Occupancy Agreement took effect as a lease for 90 years, determinable by Mexfield only on one month’s notice on Ms Berrisford’s death or in accordance with the provisions of clause 6 of the Occupancy Agreement.
Lord Hope, Deputy President, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Neuberger, Lord Clarke, Lord Dyson
[2011] NPC 115, [2011] 46 EG 105, [2011] 3 WLR 1091, [2011] UKSC 32, UKSC 2010/0167, [2012] 1 AC 955, [2012] PTSR 69, [2011] 3 EGLR 115, [2012] L and TR 7, [2012] 1 P and CR 8, [2012] 1 All ER 1393, [2012] HLR 15
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
Law of Property Act 1922 145, Law of Property Act 1925 1(1) 205(1)(xxvii) 149(6), Protection from Eviction Act 1977
England and Wales
At first instanceMexfield Housing Co-Operative Ltd v Berrisford ChD 5-Oct-2009
The claimant appealed against refusal of a summary order for possession of the defendant tenant’s house for arrears of rent. The arrears arose through delay in payment of Housing Benefit, and all arrears had been cleared by the hearing of the . .
Appeal fromBerrisford v Mexfield Housing Co- Operative Ltd CA 15-Jul-2010
The Society ran a mortgage rescue scheme, buying properties from borrowers unable to maintain mortgage repayments, and letting them back. As a co-operative, the former owners would become members. Because it was a mutual housing co-operative, the . .
CitedPrudential Assurance Co Ltd v London Residuary Body and Others HL 16-Jul-1992
The parties signed a memorandum of agreement to let a strip of land from 1930 until determined as provided, but the only provision was that the lease would continue until the land was needed for road widening and two months’ notice was given. The . .
CitedIn re Midland Railway Co’s Agreement, Charles Clay and Sons Ltd v British Railways Board CA 1971
The lease agreement created a term for six months from 10 June 1920 and was to continue from half year to half year until determined. It was to be determined by three months’ written notice given by either party to the other provided that the . .
CitedSay v Smith 1563
A lease for a term certain purported to add a term which was uncertain.
Held: The lease was valid only as to the certain term. Anthony Brown J said:’Every contract sufficient to make a lease for years ought to have certainty in three . .
CitedThe Bishop of Bath’s Case CCP 1572
A Lease was made to A and B for 60 years, with a clause of re-entry immediately after the deaths of A and B and of the longer liver of them within the term. After the death of A within the term another lease of the same lands was made to C habendum . .
CitedBurgh v Potkyn 1522
The court originated the concept in law of a periodic tenancy. . .
CitedJohn Taylor v Mary Seed In Ejectment 1724
The plaintiff’s lessor had leased a house in London to the defendant for seven years, and, after the seven expired, had accepted a quarter’s rent, whereby a tenancy at will was created; and it was proved by an ancient city-book in French (called . .
CitedDoe dem Warner v Browne 1807
The parties agreed a lease at a rent of andpound;40 per annum. The landlord was not to raise the rent nor turn out the tenant ‘so long as the rent is duly paid quarterly, and he does not expose to sale or sell any article that may be injurious to W . .
CitedBrowne v Warner 23-Jul-1807
. .
CitedLace v Chantler CA 1944
The freeholder purported to let the house to the tenant ‘for the duration of the war’
Held: The term was uncertain, and therefore no lease was created.
Lord Green MR said: ‘The intention was to create a tenancy and nothing else. The law . .
CitedAshburn Anstalt v Arnold (2) CA 25-Feb-1988
Various leases of properties had been granted. Legal and General occupied the property under an arrangement under which they paid no rent. The landlord sought possession, saying that the agreements were licences not tenancies because of the absence . .
CitedStreet v Mountford HL 6-Mar-1985
When a licence is really a tenancy
The document signed by the occupier stated that she understood that she had been given a licence, and that she understood that she had not been granted a tenancy protected under the Rent Acts. Exclusive occupation was in fact granted.
Held: . .
CitedBreams Property Investment Co Ltd v Stroulger CA 1948
An agreement by a landlord in a periodic tenancy not to serve notice to quit for three years unless it required the premises for its own use was valid.
Scott LJ said: ‘The phrase ‘subject-matter of the lease’ was, as we know, substituted for . .
CitedKusel v Watson CA 1879
A tenant in the house let it to K at a fixed rent, with a lease at the same rent ‘at any period he may feel disposed’ and more not to molest or disturb him or raise his rent after Kusel had spent money to improve the house. K spent the money and now . .
CitedBass Holdings Ltd v Lewis CA 29-Jul-1986
The appellant, Mr Lewis had been granted a tenancy by the appellant on its standard terms. Notice was given to terminate the tenancy. The tenant appealed against a ruling that he had not acquired a tenaancy for 90 years under the 1925 Act.
CitedMilmo v Carreras CA 1946
Privity of estate between the assignee and the lessor creates liability in the lessor only in respect of covenants which run with the land.
What was plainly stated and understood by the parties to be an underlease operated as an assignment of . .
CitedIn Re Carne’s Settled Estates 1899
A right to occupy for life, arising by settlement gives to the occupier an equitable interest in the land. . .
CitedBruton v London and Quadrant Housing Trust HL 24-Jun-1999
The claimant sought to oblige the respondent to repair his flat under the 1988 Act. The respondent replied that the arrangement was a licence only, and not protected under the Act.
Held: The housing association had a temporary licence to . .
CitedRedpath v White 1737
The court considered the status of a lease of indefinte term. . .
CitedCrighton v Lord Air 1631
The grant of a lease was to the tenant and his heirs and successors for five years and after that a further five years and then five years for ever. The argument that the lease was a nullity because it did not say when it was to come to an end was . .
CitedCarruthers v Irvine 1717
A lease was granted expressed to be ‘perpetually and continually as long as the grass groweth up and the water runneth down’. The grantor died and his heir sought to remove the tenant on the ground that the lease did not say when it was to come to . .
CitedSkipton Building Society v Clayton CA 1993
The wife claimed that the husband had forged the mortgage document. The Society said that she had allowed them to believe that she had consented to the charge. Slade LJ set out the principle: ‘in a case where A, the holder of the legal estate in . .
CitedReardon Smith Line Ltd v Yngvar Hansen-Tangen (The ‘Diana Prosperity’) HL 1976
In construing a contract, three principles can be found. The contextual scene is always relevant. Secondly, what is admissible as a matter of the rules of evidence under this heading is what is arguably relevant, but admissibility is not decisive. . .

Cited by:
CitedChaudhary v Yavuz CA 22-Nov-2011
The court was asked ‘whether and if so how an easement arising informally and not protected by any entry at the Land Registry can be effective against a purchaser of the land over which the easement would be exercised.’ The parties respectively . .
CitedHardy and Another v Haselden and Others CA 29-Nov-2011
The claimants had taken up occupation of a farm under an informal arrangement which they now said amounted to a tenancy for ther lives. The freeholder’s, personal representatives of the original grantors, appealed against a declaration accordingly. . .
CitedSouthward Housing Co-Operative Ltd v Walker and Another ChD 8-Jun-2015
The court was asked as to the nature and effect of tenancies for life granted by fully mutual housing co-operatives and in particular how they can lawfully be brought to an end and a possession order obtained. The tenants sought a declaration of . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 18 March 2021; Ref: scu.448291