Land Law

Ninth edition

by Mark Davys

Suggested Answer to Exercise 10.3 (Part 2)


Planning Your Answer

Issues

  • Who are the present legal owners of the house?
    • Strictly speaking you are not asked to address this in the question. It is referred to here as a reminder of the importance of maintaining the distinction between legal title and beneficial title when approaching co-ownership questions.
  • What was the relationship between the beneficial owners immediately following the purchase of Techno House?
  • What is the relationship between the beneficial owners at the end of the narrative?
    • Has there been any severance of any joint tenancy?
    • What are the consequences of the death of any of the beneficiaries?
    • If the beneficiaries are tenants in common, what are the proportions of their shares?

Rules

  1. Principles of co-ownership
    1. All co-owned land is held on trust – dividing legal and equitable ownership
    2. The two types of beneficial co-ownership.
  2. Beneficial ownership at the outset
    1. All four unities are required for beneficial joint tenancy (only unity of possession is essential for beneficial tenancy in common).
      See Land Law, Section 10.3.
    2. If all four unities are present, equity will follow the law unless:
      1. there is evidence of no intention to create a joint tenancy; or
      2. the circumstances give rise to an unrebutted presumption of tenancy in common.
        See Land Law, Section 10.4.2.
  3. Severance of beneficial joint tenancies (LPA 1925, s 36(2))
    1. Act on a share;
    2. Mutual agreement;
    3. Course of dealing;
    4. Written notice;
    5. Homicide.
      See Land Law, Section 10.5.

Answer Plan

  1. Introduction: the basis of co-ownership
  2. Beneficial ownership at the outset
    1. Are all four unities present?
    2. Is there any indication of the intention of the parties?
    3. Are there any circumstances giving rise to the presumption of a tenancy in common?
  3. The disagreement, the note and Neil’s departure.
    1. Severance by act on a share?
    2. Severance by mutual agreement?
    3. Severance by course of dealing?
    4. Severance by written notice?
  4. Neil’s proposal and the various responses
    1. Severance by act on a share?
    2. Severance by mutual agreement?
    3. Severance by course of dealing?
    4. Severance by written notice?
  5. Uri’s death – severance by homicide?
  6. The consequences of these events for the beneficial ownership of the land.
  7. Make sure that you have stated your conclusions and that these conclusions follow logically from your reasoning.

Before you go to the next page, prepare a more detailed answer plan, including references to relevant cases and statutes.


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