Wright v Macadam [1949] 2 KB 744

Key point

  • Under s62 LPA 1925, licences to property can be impliedly converted into easements by grant

Facts

  • D landlord let to C a top floor flat and gave permission to C to use garden shed for the storage of coal
  • A new tenancy with an additional room was granted to C and her daughter, the document had no reference to the shed
  • C continued to use shed without charge till 1947, when D asked for payment
  • C refused to pay and sought declaration that their tenancy included the right to use the shed and damages

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • The right to use a coal shed was implied as an easement into the grant of tenancy

Jenkins LJ

  • s62 LPA 1925 is not confined to legally enforceable rights annexed to the property and can apply to quasi-easements de facto enjoyed even though no person can have a right on one part of his land over another part
  • The right in order to pass, need not be a permanent title, it can be a mere permission
  • A right in fact enjoyed will pass on conveyance by being read into the grant under s62 even though the right is by permission and thus precarious
  • However, the right will not pass under s62 as an easement if the expectation of the parties was that it was temporary
  • In this case it was not contemplated by the parties that the enjoyment of the right should be purely temporary, no limit was set as to the time during which the coal shed could be used

Commentary

  • The metamorphosis from personal to property right has been subject to widespread criticism, such as from Cross J in Green v Ascho. The Law Commission has recommended that this be rejected