Ownership and Chattels
Raheem has discovered a house which he considers unique. The property is named ‘Concept 2019’ and was designed for a pioneer in the field of electronics. He wanted to showcase the best of modern technology to show ‘what is possible and do what is impossible’. Raheem purchased the property, however, some items of which he was particularly interested in have been taken by the seller (Dr Rodriguez).
The titanium fence has been removed from the garden, with the ground adjoining the fence-posts having been disturbed. The living room featured a large LCD screen, which has been removed. It was not secured to the wall in any way, except by electromagnets, which enabled it to be moved onto any of the four walls. The other three walls featured modern art, in-keeping with the painted walls and secured by electromagnets, have not been removed. This means that there is now one wall at any given time which has an ‘unsightly blank space’.
In the driveway magnificently bright letters spelling out ‘Rodriguez’ have been removed. The letters had been attached to the concrete with long screw fittings. The damage has been repaired, but Raheem is disappointed not to have them, especially as they seemed to be made from ultra-modern materials. Advise Raheem concerning the fixtures or chattels previously in ‘Concept 2019’.
Word limit: 1,500 Models of Ownership Raheem is a proud owner of ‘HyperNova Shopping Mall’, which promises the most futuristic shopping experience in the world.
He created the concept — which fuses the reality of physical space with the virtual reality of intangible products — with friends he met whilst travelling (Zhi, Hamish and Martha). Upon their return to England they purchased a house together, so that they could easily share their ideas at any time of day or night and to house their (then) only virtual reality headset.
After a few years passed these friends, who were ‘like brothers and sisters’, began to experience creative differences. Hamish grew frustrated with the mall because it was ‘not sufficiently hyper or nova’ to excite him or the general public. He argued for more futuristic technology and less physicality (‘do we even need a building?’). He offered to sell his share in the house to the others, and they appeared to agree on a price of £300,000 and signed a makeshift document on an electronic tablet to this effect, with payment to be made when Hamish had found somewhere else to live.
Models of Ownership and Shareholding
However, a petty argument developed when he claimed some CDs belonged to him (‘so you like some physical objects’ says Raheem) and Hamish terminated the sale. After Hamish’s comments Zhi pointed out to his friends that, in fact, people just come to play with the futuristic equipment and then order the products online through other websites.
For this reason he decided he was going to start his own business, selling ‘real’ products like concrete and steel. He announced his one night over dinner, and left a note on the fridge in the flat saying he wanted to have his own share of the flat. Martha kept her concerns to herself but was not convinced that the business would be as successful as they had initially hoped.
For this reason she amended her will to leave ‘her share’ of the house to her niece. Advise Raheem concerning the implications of the above events in concerning ownership of the property.
Word Limit: 1,500 Trusts Raheem has always been fiercely independent, and so has his ex-partner, Christine. In spite of — or perhaps because of — this they were drawn to one another and co-habited happily for ten years. Their property that they lived in was purchased for £600k and is now worth £1m. The money for the purchase was provided primarily by Raheem (£550k) although Christine contributed £50k, provided to her by her father. Raheem and Christine have now separated and agreed that the property should be sold and profits divided.
The increase in the value of the property is attributable to significant renovations undertaken by Christine. She had been an architect but left her job in order to focus on renovating the property. Estate agents advertise prominently that the (now) glass exterior works particularly well in situating the property amongst the trees, giving an innate sense of nature.
Since splitting with Raheem, Christine has returned to work and the house features prominently in her portfolio; it has resulted in a lucrative contract to design an ‘eco-skyscraper’ in London. Christine insists that she would not have undertaken the work had Raheem not promised that the property was ‘as much yours as mine’ and ‘our retirement home’.
She does not see why Raheem should profit from her hard work. Raheem points out to you that their finances were always kept entirely separate and that he paid for ‘everything’ in relation to the home. He also points out the property was registered in his sole name. Advise Raheem concerning the relevant claims to the property under the law of trusts, including discussion of quantification of shares.
Covenants and Property Use
Word Limit: 2,000 Covenants Finding himself in need of some additional funds, Raheem sells off part of his land to Mr Khan, who is going to build a house on the land.
As Raheem is going to be living next door to the property built by Mr Khan, Raheem includes a number of covenants in the transfer document: That no business can be carried out on the land sold. That Mr Khan will be responsible for erecting and maintaining a wooden fence at least two meters high and which shall remain natural wood and not be painted.
That Mr Khan will contribute to the upkeep of the water pipes that run under both plots of land. Mr Khan builds a residential property, but after a short time he sells his property to Ms Olivia Liu. Ms Liu is a famous sculptor who specialises in ‘night sky’ pieces of art and she decides to make her property an educational studio for sculpture. The students arrive late at night and much of their activity takes place in the garden where they can sculpt large, abstract pieces. The students often stay all night and leave loudly in the early hours of the morning.
Ms Liu has not been maintaining the wooden fence between the two properties, which Raheem mentioned to her during an argument about the noise and disruption that the students make. Ms Liu says she cannot be forced to paint the fence and is also refusing to pay anything towards the upkeep of the water pipes. Fed up, Raheem proposes to sell his property to Mrs Blomfield, but she visits the house late at night and sees — and hears — the commotion from next door. She says she will only purchase the property if Raheem gives assurances that Ms Liu can be compelled to stop her business, maintain the fence and pay for the pipes. Advise Raheem whether the proposed buyer, Mrs Blomfield, will be able to enforce any of the covenants if the sale were to proceed.
Word Limit: 2,000 Easements Just a short walk from Raheem’s house there is a field owned by Paolo Jimenez. For Raheem and his neighbours this serves as a convenient shortcut towards town.
The neighbours have used the field in this manner for ‘as long as any of them can remember’, but Paolo Jimenez is now very unhappy. Raheem and others have started bicycling across the land (Raheem’s bike has a detachable engine, which he often uses). Paolo Jimenez has now let the bushes grow significantly — rendering the route across land hard to use. Advise Raheem and his neighbours as to any legal rights they may have acquired over Paolo Jimenez’s land. Consider also the obligations of the relevant parties should an easement be present.