R & P. Properties Ltd v Baldwin

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Year1938
Date1938
CourtCourt of Appeal
[COURT OF APPEAL] R. & P. PROPERTIES, LIMITED v. BALDWIN. 1938 Dec. 16. SLESSER, CLAUSON and GODDARD L.JJ.

Landlord and tenant - Rent Restrictions Acts - Two adjacent flats - Separate dwelling-houses - Alterations - Flats subsequently let as new combined flat - Application of Rent Restrictions Acts to new combined flat - Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions (Amendment) Act, 1933 (23 & 24 Geo. 5, c. 32), s. 1, sub-s. 2, s. 16 - Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1938 (1 & 2 Geo. 6, c. 26), s. 2, sub-s. 1.

By the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions (Amendment) Act, 1933, s. 1, sub-s. 2: As from September 29, 1933, “the principal Acts shall not apply to any dwelling-house unless it is a dwelling-house to which they applied immediately before the passing of this Act ……”

By s. 16, sub-s. 1, a “dwelling-house” was defined as meaning “a house let as a separate dwelling.”

By the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1938, s. 2, sub-s. 1: “…. the principal Acts …. shall not apply to any dwelling-house unless it is a dwelling-house to which they applied immediately before the passing of this Act ……”

By s. 8, sub-s. 1: “In this Act the expression ‘the Act of 1933’ means the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions (Amendment) Act, 1933.”

Sub-s. 2: “Other expressions have the same meanings as in the Act of 1933 ……”

Two adjacent flats in a block of flats were controlled under the Rent Restrictions Acts and were let to two tenants at a rent of 6 s. 2 d. per week for each flat. In June, 1935, the tenant of one of the flats left, and the landlords then made alterations in the two flats in order to turn them into one flat. A hole was made in the wall between the two flats and a doorway made. The outside doorway of one flat was bricked up. The kitchen range in the sitting-room of one of the flats was taken away and another range substituted. Both the flats were then known by one number, and the tenant of one of the flats took over the other flat at a rent of 15 s. a week, which was later increased to 17 s. The tenant having fallen into arrear with his rent, the landlords commenced proceedings to recover possession of the premises. The tenant claimed that the premises were controlled under the Rent Restrictions Acts. The county court judge held that the alterations had not changed the identity of the two flats and that the combined flat continued to be subject to the Rent Restrictions Acts. On appeal to the Court of Appeal:—

Held, that the two flats did not continue to exist as separate dwelling-houses after the alterations, and that the combined flat was first let as a separate dwelling in June, 1935, because before that date it did not exist, and therefore was not a dwelling-house within the meaning of s. 1, sub-s. 2, of the Act of 1933 to which the Rent Restrictions Acts applied, and therefore was not a dwelling-house under s. 2, sub-s. 1, of the Act of 1938, because at the time of the passing of that Act it was not a dwelling-house to which the principal Acts applied immediately before the passing of the 1938 Act.

APPEAL from a decision of the deputy judge sitting at the Shoreditch County Court.

The plaintiffs were the owners of a block of flats in Quinn Square, Bethnal Green, in which were two adjacent flats known as Nos. 69 and 70. These flats were controlled under the Rent Restrictions Acts and let to two tenants at a rent of 6 s. 2 d. per week for each flat.

In June, 1935, the tenant of No. 70 left and the plaintiffs then made alterations in the two flats in order to turn them into one flat. A hole was made in the wall between Nos. 69 and 70 and a doorway made. The outside doorway of No. 69 was bricked up. The kitchen range in the sitting-room of No. 69, which was fixed in brickwork, was taken away and another fireplace substituted. Both the flats were then known as No. 70 and the tenant of No. 69 took over No. 70 at the rent of 15 s. a week, which was later increased to 17 s.

The defendant became in arrear with his rent and the plaintiffs served on him a notice to quit expiring on June 18, 1938, and subsequently commenced proceedings in the county court to recover possession of the premises.

The defendant denied that the plaintiffs were entitled to possession and alleged that the premises were controlled under the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Acts and counterclaimed for the return of over payments of rent above the standard rents of the two flats.

At the trial there was evidence that it would be quite easy to restore the flats to their original condition and that the cost of the alterations probably did not exceed 5 l.

The deputy county court judge held that the alterations were of a minor kind and did not change the identity of either No. 69 or No. 70 as a separate dwelling-house, and that the combined premises now known as No. 70 continued to be subject to the Rent Acts. He accordingly gave judgment for the defendant both on the claim and counterclaim.

The plaintiffs appealed.

Heathcote-Williams for the appellants. The decision of the deputy county court judge that this combined flat was still subject to the Rent Restrictions Acts was wrong. By reason of the alterations to the two flats in June, 1935, they became a dwelling-house which was not in existence in 1933, when the Rent and...

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4 cases
  • Herbert v Byrne
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal
    • 26 February 1964
    ...have been let as three separate dwellings and not as one separate dwelling; see ( R. & P. Properties v. Baldwin 1939 volume 1 King's Bench Division, page 461 at page 469). The whole would not qualify for protection, but the Individual flats would; see section 2, subsection (1) and section 3......
  • Horford Investments Ltd v Lambert
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 18 October 1973
    ...'let as two separate dwellings'. An impartial application of the Interpretation Act might lead to odd results." 11 In R. and P. Properties Limited v. Baldwin in this court (1939) 1 K. B. 461 Lord Justice Goddard said at page 470: "If they were let as two dwellings it follows that they were......
  • Rex v Meischke's (Pty) Limited and Amoils
    • South Africa
    • Invalid date
    ...lease 1947 (4) SA p674 is of importance. See also Stockham v Easton (1924 (1) K.B. 52, at p. 61); R. & P. Properties, Ltd v Baldwin (1938 (4) All E.R. 845); Marchbank v Campbell (1923 (1) K.B. 245). It is a question of the physical identity of the premises. On the facts, it is immaterial wh......
  • Langford Property Company Ltd v Batten
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal
    • Invalid date

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