Goodrich v Paisner: HL 1956

By a tenancy agreement, the landlord of a dwelling house let to the tenant, on a weekly tenancy, four unfurnished rooms on the first floor of the house together with the use in common with the landlord of the back bedroom on the first floor and the use, in common with the landlord and others authorised by her and of the bathroom and lavatories. After the death of the landlord, the respondents, her successors in title, determined the tenancy by a notice to quit, but the tenant refused to deliver up possession. In an action by the respondents for possession of the four unfurnished rooms, the tenant claimed that she was entitled to the protection of Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Acts 1922 to 1939, because the rooms were let as a separate dwellings within the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Act 1920 section 12(2). The respondents contended that as the tenant had the right to share a living room with the landlord, the premises let to her were not let as a separate dwelling, within section 12(2), because the words in the tenancy agreement, ‘the use in common with the landlord of the back bedroom’, were too vague to constitute a right to share part of the dwelling sufficient to exclude the operation of the Rent Restrictions Acts, or created merely a right to the exclusive use of the room from time to time, and did not involve such an evasion of privacy as would exclude the Acts.
The House considered the interpretation of the phrase let as a ‘separate’ dwelling. Lord Reid said: ‘No court is entitled to substitute its words for the words of the Act.
But a court can and must decide what is the appropriate test in a particular case and, when the Court of Appeal has laid down a test, that test ought to be followed in all cases which do not present substantial relevant differences . . [T]hat does not mean that the words used by the Court of Appeal are to be treated as if they were words in an Act of Parliament. In substantially different circumstances they are only a guide, and not a rule.’


Lord Reid


[1957] AC 65, [1956] 2 All ER 176, [1956] 2 WLR 1053, 100 Sol Jo 341


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedUratemp Ventures Limited v Collins HL 11-Oct-2001
Can a single room within a hotel comprise a separate dwelling within the 1988 Act and be subject to an assured tenancy?
Held: A single room can be a dwelling. Each case must be interpreted in its own light as a question of fact, but respecting . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.221451