Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council v Monk: HL 5 Dec 1991

One tenant of two joint tenants of a house left and was granted a new tenancy on condition that the existing one of the house, still occupied by her former partner, was determined. She gave a notice to quit as requested, the council claimed possession, and succeeded, even though she had sought to withdraw her notice.
Held: A right to occupy by virtue of a tenancy is a right which affords little or no security of tenure where the tenancy is a periodic tenancy held jointly with another person; it is open to that other person to give notice to the landlord determining the tenancy. A periodic joint tenancy is determinable by a notice given by one of the joint tenants even if this was against the other’s wishes. The continuance of a joint tenancy requires the will of all the joint tenants to take it from period to period.
Lord Bridge said: ‘I see no reason why this question should receive any different answer in the context of the contractual relationship of landlord and tenant than that which it would receive in any other contractual context. If A and B contract with C on terms which are to continue in operation for one year in the first place and thereafter from year to year unless determined by notice at the end of the first or any subsequent year, neither A nor B has bound himself contractually for longer than one year. To hold that A could not determine the contract at the end of any year without the concurrence of B and vice versa would pre-suppose that each had assumed a potentially irrevocable contractual obligation for the duration of their joint lives, which, whatever the nature of the contractual obligations undertaken, would be such an improbable intention to impute to the parties that nothing less than the clearest express contractual language would suffice to manifest it. Hence, in any ordinary agreement for an initial term which is to continue for successive terms unless determined by notice, the obvious inference is that the agreement is intended to continue beyond the initial term only if and so long as all parties to the agreement are willing that it should do so. In a common law situation, where parties are free to contract as they wish and are bound only so far as they have agreed to be bound, this leads to the only sensible result.’

Lord Bridge of Harwich, Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Ackner, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Browne-Wilkinson
Gazette 22-Jan-1992, [1992] 1 AC 478, [1991] 3 WLR 1144, [1991] UKHL 6, [1992] 1 All ER 1
England and Wales
ApprovedDoe d Aslin v Summersett KBD 1830
Majority of Trustees May Exercise Power
The freehold in land which was let on a yearly tenancy was vested jointly in four executors of a will to whom the land had been jointly devised. Three only of the executors gave notice to the tenant to quit. The fourth objected.
Held: The . .
DisapprovedHowson v Buxton CA 1928
After one tenancy the former tenant as landlord’s representative became joint tenants with the new tenant who provided the funds and bought out the former tenants compensation rights. The landlord gave notice to terminate the tenancy, and the new . .
Appeal fromHammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council v Monk CA 1990
Mr Monk and Mrs Powell held a tenancy of the council in their joint names. They fell out and Mrs Powell gave the contractual four week notice. Mr Monk objected that this should not have allowed the council to end the tenancy.
Held: The notice . .
CitedGreenwich London Borough Council v McGrady CA 1982
A notice to quit given by one of two joint tenants without the consent of the other was effective to determine the periodic tenancy to which it related.
Sir John Donaldson MR said: ‘In my judgment, it is clear law that, if there is to be a . .
CitedDoe d. Kindersley v Hughes 1840
The tenant challenged the validity of a notice given by not all his landlords.
Held: The notice was valid. . .
CitedAlford v Vickery 18-Mar-1842
A notice given not by all the freeholders to a yearly tenant was valid despite the non-involvement of one of the freeholders. . .
CitedLeek and Moorlands Building Society v Clark CA 1952
The court was asked whether one of two joint lessees could validly surrender the lease before the full period of the lease had run without the concurrence of the other joint lessee.
Held: Somervell LJ was in favour of the defendant lessees: . .
CitedCandy v Jubber 1865
The plaintiff had been injured by a defective iron grating which was out of repair so as to amount to a nuisance. The property was occupied by a yearly tenant but the claim was brought against the reversioner, who was held liable by the Court of . .
No longer good lawDoe d. Whayman v Chaplin 1310
Four persons were the joint lessors on a periodic tenancy. Three only of the joint lessors gave notice to quit against the wishes of the fourth. At one stage the court inclined to the view that in order to determine the tenancy all four lessors had . .
CitedSmith v Grayton Estates Ltd SCS 1960
The Court was asked whether a tenancy continuing from year to year after the expiry of a fixed term by virtue of the 1949 Act was determined by notice given by one of two joint tenants.
Held: The notice was effective.
Lord President Clyde . .
CitedRe Warren ChD 1932
The Divisional Court in Bankruptcy applied the rule that a judicial act takes effect at the very start of the day on which it occurs to give deemed precedence to a receiving order, a judicial act, over a payment made earlier in the day. The . .
CitedBull v Bull CA 1955
The parties were mother and son who had purchased a property as joint tenants. The son contributed a greater part of the purchase price. The son then married, and agreements were reached as to occupation of different parts of the house. When those . .

Cited by:
CitedNewlon Housing Trust v Alsulaimen and Another HL 29-Jul-1998
A tenancy which had been terminated by a notice given by one of the joint tenants had expired. It did not come to an end by any deed, and so was not capable of being set aside by a family court in the course of divorce proceedings. The possession . .
CitedGay v Sheeran, London Borough of Enfield CA 18-Jun-1999
The ability for a court to order the transfer of a secure tenancy between partners under the Act depended upon the court first making an occupation order in favour of the party from whom the tenancy was to be transferred, but the order could be made . .
CitedLondon Borough of Lambeth and Hyde Southbank Ltd v O’Kane, Helena Housing Ltd CA 28-Jul-2005
In each case the authority had obtained an order for possession of the tenanted properties, but the court had suspended the possession orders. The tenants had therefore now become ‘tolerated trespassers’. They now claimed that they had again become . .
CitedReichman and Another v Beveridge CA 13-Dec-2006
The defendants were tenants of the claimant. They vacated the premises and stopped paying the rent. The claimant sought payment of the arrears of rent. The defendants said that the claimants should have taken steps to reduce their damages by seeking . .
CitedHussain v Mehlman CC 5-Mar-1992
(County Court) The defendant landlord granted the plaintiff a three year assured shorthold tenancy. He now appealed a finding that he was in breach of an implied covenant to maintain the space heating, and otherwise. The tenant had returned the . .
CitedHussain v Mehlman CC 5-Mar-1992
(County Court) The defendant landlord granted the plaintiff a three year assured shorthold tenancy. He now appealed a finding that he was in breach of an implied covenant to maintain the space heating, and otherwise. The tenant had returned the . .
CitedDoherty and others v Birmingham City Council HL 30-Jul-2008
The House was asked ‘whether a local authority can obtain a summary order for possession against an occupier of a site which it owns and has been used for many years as a gipsy and travellers’ caravan site. His licence to occupy the site has come to . .
CitedAlexander-David v London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham CA 1-Apr-2009
The authority was required to provide housing to the minor applicant, but she was too young to hold a legal estate. An equitable lease had been created, and she now appealed against an order for possession having broken the terms of the agreement, . .
AppliedBradney, Birmingham City Council v Birmingham City Council, McCann CA 9-Dec-2003
Birmingham Council had granted H and W a joint secure tenancy of a three-bedroom home. The marriage broke down and W left with the two children. She obtained a non-molestation order and an ouster order against him. H tried to force his way into the . .
CitedCoombes, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another Admn 8-Mar-2010
The landlord council brought proceedings for possession. The tenant (C) had remained in possession after his mother’s death, but enjoyed no second statutory succession. He had lived there since 1954 when he was six. C sought a declaration of . .
BindingSims v Dacorum Borough Council CA 24-Jan-2013
Husband and wife had been joint tenants of the council. On the breakdown of the marriage, W gave notice to quit. H defended the council’s possession action, saying that it was an infringement of his human rights for him to lose his tenancy and home. . .
CitedSims v Dacorum Borough Council SC 12-Nov-2014
Surrender at Common Law Survives Human Rights Law
The tenants held a secure weekly tenancy of the respondent under a joint tenancy. After a relationship breakdown, Mrs Sims had given notice to quit. Mr Sims, left in possession now argued that the common law rules should not be allowed to deprive . .
CitedLondon Borough of Harrow v Johnstone HL 13-Mar-1997
A possession action was lawful against a remaining joint tenant after a notice to terminate the tenancy had been given by the other tenant. An order against interference with possession of property did not extend to matters of the duration of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant, Housing

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.81200