The question of a proprietary estoppel as between landlord and tenant arose. An agreement had been reached subject to contract for the grant of a lease, with an option to purchase. The tenant was allowed into possession before the documentation was prepared, and to commece works of repair. Eventually the proposed lease did not include an option. In resisting a later action for possession, the prospective tenant produced inflated invoices. The landowner resisted the claim for an estoppel saying that the tenant, seeking an equitable remedy, had not come to court with clean hands.
Held: It was the proposed tenant’s solicitors who themselves made the correspondence subject to contract.
Lord Justice Waller Lord Justice Kay And Mr Justice Lindsay
 EWCA Civ 873
England and Wales
Cited – Ramsden v Dyson HL 1866
The Vice-Chancellor had held that two tenants of Sir John Ramsden, the owner of a large estate near Huddersfield, were entitled to long leases of plots on the estate. They ostensibly held the plots as tenants at will only, but they had spent their . .
Cited – Willmott v Barber ChD 19-Jun-1880
In 1869 Barber granted a 99-year lease of three acres of land in east London, subject to a covenant against assignment or sub-letting without consent. In 1874, in breach of covenant, he sub-let one acre on an annual tenancy to Willmott (who owned a . .
Cited – Taylors Fashions Ltd v Liverpool Victoria Trustees Co Ltd ChD 1981
The fundamental principle that equity is concerned to prevent unconscionable conduct permeates all the elements of the doctrine of estoppel. In the light of the more recent cases, the principle ‘requires a very much broader approach which is . .
Cited – Attorney General of Hong Kong v Humphreys Estate (Queen’s Gardens) Ltd PC 1987
An agreement in principle was marked ‘subject to contract’. The Government would acquire some flats owned the plaintiff Group of companies in return for the Government granting, inter alia, a lease to the Group of some Crown lands. The Government . .
Cited – Gillett v Holt and Another CA 23-Mar-2000
Repeated Assurances Created Equitable Estoppel
Repeated assurances, given over years, that the claimant would acquire an interest in property on the death of the person giving the re-assurance, and upon which the claimant relied to his detriment, could found a claim of equitable estoppel. The . .
Cited – Singh v Singh 1985
A husband resisted his former wife’s claim under the section against his brother, her brother-in-law. He asserted, with a view to deceiving both his wife and the Court, that his brother, who held the fee of a house, did not hold any share . .
Cited – Willis and Son v Willis CA 1986
The appellants had resisted giving a flat, claiming a promissory estoppel based on the respondents having more than once said that the appellants could live in the premises rent free for as long as they needed. The appellants said that some pounds . .
Cited – Sherbrooke v Dipple 1980
Parties to a conveyancing context can get rid of the qualification ‘subject to contract’ only if either they both expressly agree that it should be expunged or if such an agreement can be necessarily implied. . .
Cited – Cohen v Nessdale Ltd CA 1982
Once negotiations are begun ‘subject to contract’, that label governs all subsequent communications between the parties unless the label is expunged by express agreement or by necessary implication. . .
Cited – Derby and Co Ltd v ITC Pension Trust Ltd 1977
The court considered a party resisting a claim to an estoppel: ‘where parties negotiate on a basis ‘subject to contract’ everybody knows there is a risk that, at the end of the day, either side may back out of negotiations, up to the point where . .
Cited – Edwin Shirley Productions Ltd v Workspace Management Ltd 2001
So familiar is the use of the phrase ‘subject to contract’ in the conveyancing context that its effect is, without proof, to be taken to be known to the parties. . .
Cited – Regalian Properties Plc and Another v London Docklands Development Corporation ChD 25-Jan-1995
Negotiations intended to result in a contract were expressly on the basis that each party was free to withdraw from the negotiations at any time, the costs of a party in preparing for the intended contract were incurred at its own risk and it was . .
Cited – Salvation Army Trustee Co Ltd v West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council 1980
Threatened with a road widening, the plaintiffs left their old property, and began to develop their new one, again, on land owned by the respondent. In practice it was negotiated as an exchange of properties. The negotiations were held ‘without . .
Cited – Island Holdings Ltd v Birchington Engineering Co Ltd 7-Jul-1981
Two prospectively separate purchasers in a later ‘subject to contract’ arrangement between them had replaced their earlier concluded agreement as to how a property, if acquired, would be dealt with.
Held: Effect was to be given to the . .
Cited – Banner Homes Group Plc v Luff Developments and Another CA 10-Feb-2000
Competing building companies agreed not to bid against each other for the purchase of land. One proceeded and the other asserted that the land was then held on trust for the two parties as a joint venture.
Held: Although there was no formal . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 September 2021; Ref: scu.184068