Dimsdale Developments (South East) Ltd v De Haan: 1983

The court considered the interpretation of clauses allowing a notice to complete a contract for the sale of land. Godfrey QC said: ‘In my judgment this notice, served as it was under cover of the letter of November 10, 1981, referring to the National Conditions of Sale, and referring as it did to the contract of September 30, 1981, which incorporated those conditions, should be treated as having been given and received pursuant to condition 22 of the National Conditions of Sale and so as a notice which made it a term of contract, in respect of which time was of the essence, that the contract should be completed within 28 days of the service of the notice exclusive of the day of service. I appreciate that the notice was dated November 10, 1981, and was expressed to be a notice to complete within 28 days ‘from the date hereof’. But a notice is something which is intended to bring its contents to the attention of the recipient and cannot do that until it reaches him. I am of the opinion that speaking generally, a reference in a notice to ‘the date hereof’ is at least as apt to refer to the date of its service as to the date on which it is and is expressed to be sent, and that the former date (the date of service) is actually to be preferred where, as here,
(a) the notice is given pursuant to a contractual provision referring to that date;
(b) the effect of so regarding it is to save, rather than to destroy, the validity of the notice; and
(c) the recipient treated it as valid, or at least took no exception to it, until well after the 28 days had expired, and certainly had no ground for asserting that the reference to ‘the date hereof’ in any way misled him.’
As to the question of returning a deposit: ‘It is to be observed that a purchaser had no need to pray this sub-section [section 49(2)] in aid when it is not he but the vendor who is the defaulter. The sub-section is needed only to enable a purchaser who is himself in default to recover his deposit.’


Mr Gerald Godfrey QC


(1983) 47 PandCR 1


Law of Property Act 1925 49(2)

Cited by:

CitedCountry and Metropolitan Homes Surrey Ltd v Topclaim Ltd 1996
The issue was the proper construction and effect of condition 6.8 of the Standard Conditions of Sale, 2nd edition, in relation to the giving of a notice to complete a contract for the sale of land.
Held: The condition provided exclusively for . .
CitedAstea (UK) Ltd v Time Group Ltd TCC 9-Apr-2003
The question of whether a reasonable time has been exceeded in performance of a contract is ‘a broad consideration, with the benefit of hindsight, and viewed from the time at which one party contends that a reasonable time for performance has been . .
CitedAero Properties Ltd and Another v Citycrest Properties Ltd and Another ChD 6-Feb-2002
Contracts were entered into for the sale of five flats. Completion of each contract was conditional upon simultaneous completion of the others. Completion did not occur, and the defendant sellers issued a notice to complete, then rescinded the . .
ApprovedTennaro Ltd v Majorarch 2003
The parties entered into three related contracts to grant long leases of three flats in the same block (Nos 37, 32 and 31), and deposits paid. The vendor served notices to complete and when the purchaser did not comply, he rescinded each agreement . .
CitedMIDILL (97Pl) Ltd v Park Lane Estates Ltd and Another CA 11-Nov-2008
Refusal to return Land Contract Deposit
The court was asked as to whether a seller could retain a deposit paid by the claimant on a sale where contracts had been exchanged but the buyer had proved unable to go ahead.
Held: The appeal against refusal of return of the deposit failed. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contract, Land

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.223521