Saner v Bilton: ChD 22 Jan 1878

In a lease of a newly constructed grain warehouse there was a covenant by the lessor that he would during the term ‘ keep the main walls and main timbers of the warehouse ‘in good repair and condition.’ The lessee entered under the lease and stored grain in it, in (as the Court held upon the evidence) a reasonable and proper way. After a short time a beam which supported one of the floors broke, and ultimately the external walls sank and bulged outwards, and the lessor spent a large sum in repairing the premises. In an action by the lessor to recover from the lessee what he had thus expended.
Held: that the lessee had not been guilty of waste.
Held: also, that the lessor was bound under his covenant to put the walls and main timbers in good repair, having regard to the class of buildings to which the warehouse belonged, and not merely to the condition of the particular building.
Held: also, that the covenant implied a license by the tenant to the landlord to enter upon the premises for a reasonable time for the purpose of executing the necessary repairs.
The lease contained a proviso that, in case the warehouse, or any part thereof, should at any time during the term ‘ be destroyed or damaged by fire, flood, storm, tempest, or other inevitable accident,’ the rent, or a just proportion thereof, should cease or abate so long as the premises should continue wholly or partly untenantable or unfit for use or occupation in consequence of such destruction or damage. During the period in which the lessor was executing the repairs the lessee was excluded from the use and occupation of the whole or a part of the premises, and he claimed an abatement of rent under the proviso.
Held: that the words ‘inevitable accident’ imported something ejusdem generis with what had been previously mentioned, and did not apply to that which, though not avoidable so far as the lessee was concerned, was not in its nature inevitable, but resulted from the default of the lessor, and that the lessee was not entitled to an abatement of rent.
A lessor’s covenant to do structural repairs carried an implied licence to enter for that purpose. Fry J said: ‘It is further said that the construction of the covenant, as carrying with it an implied licence to enter, is inconsistent with the lessor’s covenant for quiet enjoyment. I do not think it is, and for this reason, that the covenant for quiet enjoyment, if read as absolutely unqualified, is as inconsistent with an entry on the warehouse for a single moment as it is with an occupation for a month or a year . . I think the covenant for quiet enjoyment must be read as subject to the licence which I have held to be implied in the covenant to repair.’

Fry J
(1878) 7 Ch D 815, [1878] UKLawRpCh 27
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedGoldmile Properties Limited v Speiro Lechouritis CA 29-Jan-2003
The tenant claimed damages form his landlord for breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment. The landlord was obliged to repair the building, and in his doing so the tenant suffered losses through interruptions. The question was whether the Landlord . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 27 January 2022; Ref: scu.182775