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Land Law Essay Questions

Question 1: Beneficial Ownership and Severance

QUESTIONS: You must answer ONE question from the choice below. Your word limit (excluding references and bibliography) is 2500 words.

Question 1 Adam, Ben and Charlie, three brothers, inherited their mother’s house in 2008. The house was transferred into their joint names, with no express provision regarding beneficial ownership. All three brothers moved into the house. In 2014 Adam moved out following an argument with Ben. Adam went to see a solicitor, Davina, who advised him to serve a notice under s36(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925 on his two brothers, indicating his intention to sever his interest. Davina drafted a letter to this effect, which Adam signed. Davina posted the letter but before it reached the brothers’ house Adam learned that Ben had been rushed into hospital following an accident. Overcome by remorse, Adam let himself into the house the next day, knowing Charlie would be at Ben’s bedside in the hospital. When the postman delivered the letter, Adam tore it up and burned the fragments, then rushed to the hospital to re-establish friendly relations with Ben. In 2015, Ben, who had made only a partial recovery from his accident, returned to the house to be cared for by his brother Charlie. Unbeknownst to the brothers, there was a gas leak on the property. Adam entered the house and found both brothers unconscious. He called an ambulance and the paramedics put Ben and Charlie into the vehicle to take them to the hospital. As the ambulance pulled out of the driveway, Adam stumbled under its wheels and was killed instantly. Ben was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital; Charlie made a full recovery. Ben had not left a will, Adam had left a will leaving his share of the house to his cousin Emily. A copy of the letter signed by Adam in 2014 has been found in Davina’s files. Advise Charlie as to the nature and extent of his interest in the house.

Question 2 Would the changes proposed in the Law Commission’s report Updating the Land Registration Act 2002 (Law Com No 380, 2018) improve the law on land registration? LW303-5-AU 2

Question 3 To what extent does the law of leases and licences balance the interests of the landlord with the interests of the tenant?

Question 4 Does the law of mortgages strike the appropriate balance between the interests of the mortgagee on the one hand and the mortgagor on the other?

Question 5 Fred owns a house with a cottage in the grounds. In January 2010 he granted a five-year lease of the cottage by deed to Gina. Fred and Gina became friends and Fred gave Gina permission, which he later confirmed in writing, to perform various activities on Fred’s land. These included allowing Gina to:

• use a hose-pipe connected to a tap outside Fred’s door to water Gina’s tub of plants;

• pick roses from Fred’s garden for flower arranging;

• sunbathe on Fred’s lawn and to use Fred’s sauna whenever Fred was not using it; and

• use a path alongside Fred’s house as a short-cut to the main road. In January 2015, when Gina’s lease came to an end, Fred granted her a further ten-year lease by deed. Fred’s solicitor used a standard form lease, which made no mention of the additional privileges which Fred had previously allowed to Gina. Fred and Gina have now had a disagreement, after Gina left the hose-pipe running and flooded Fred’s basement. Fred says he is content for Gina to remain as his tenant, but that he does not want her to use the hose-pipe, the sauna or the path, or enter his garden to sunbathe or pick flowers. Advise Gina. 

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