Somma v Hazelhurst

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date03 March 1978
Judgment citation (vLex)[1978] EWCA Civ J0303-1
Date03 March 1978

[1978] EWCA Civ J0303-1

In The Supreme Court of Judicature

Court of Appeal

On Appeal from the West London County Court


Lord Justice Stephenson,

Lord Justice Geoffrey Lane and

Lord Justice Cumming-Bruce

Immacolata Somma
Applicant (Appellant)
- and -
M. Hazlehurst (Male)
Respondent (Respondent)
And Between:
Immacolata Somma
Applicant (Appellant)
- and -
R. Savelli (Female)
Respondent (Respondent)

MR. ROBIN PURCHAS (instructed by Messrs. W. Feldman) appeared on behalf of the Applicant (Appellant).

LORD GIFFORD (instructed by Seiffert, Sedley & Co.) appeared on behalf of the Respondents (Respondents).




Judgment of the Court has been prepared by Lord Justice Cumming-Bruce whom I will ask to read it.


In February 1976 two young people Mr. Martin Hazelhurst and Miss Savelli (herein called H. and S.) were looking for accommodation in which to live together in London. He was an educated man employed as a computer programmer, a job involving some mathematical qualifications. She also had a job. They were not married. On Wednesday 18th February they saw an advertisement in the Evening Standard in the column headed "Flats and Maisonettes to Let" which read:


" ACTON/EAMMERSMITE West Kensington. Double bedsits & flatlets.


All amenities. Near Tubes. £13 to £19 per week 602 5464."


They telephoned the number given and by appointment visited a house at 4 Cornwall Mansions W.14 which belongs to Miss Somma. The house is divided into four flats, subdivided into four rooms and two maisonettes. There they met Mr. Ritter, resident managing agent for Miss. Somma. Ritter showed them a room 22 feet by 18 feet on the third floor, with two beds in it which he described as a double room. They looked at it and vent away. On Friday 20th February they returned, saw Ritter again and said they wanted to take the room and to move in next day. Ritter gave each of them a printed form of agreement into which he wrote the appropriate detail in the blank spaces. They each read the form they were given. H. asked a few questions including a query about the clauses which indicated that they would have to share with a third person described as the Licensor. They each signed their agreement before they moved in, and though they had not thought out the legal implications of the contracts they urgently wanted accommodation and, in the Judge's phrase, understood what they were letting themselves in for. Theagreements were identical save for the name of the Licensee, and we have set forth as an example the agreement signed S. on 21st February, 1976, which appears on pp. 1, 2 and 3 of the bundle of Exhibits. I herein set forth and include in this Judgment that Licence on pages 1, 2 and 3 of the bundle of Exhibits in extenso:


"THIS LICENCE is made the 21st day of February, 1976. One thousand nine hundred and seventy-six Between I. Somma or Agent of 7, Agate Road, W.6 (hereinafter referred to as "the Licensor") of the one part and R. Savelli of Milan, Italy (hereinafter referred to as "the Licensee") of the other part.


WHEREAS the Licensor is not willing to grant the Licensee exclusive possession of any part of the rooms hereinafter referred to.


AND WHEREAS the Licensee is anxious to secure the use of the rooms notwithstanding that such use be in common with the Licensor and such other licensees or invitees as the Licensor may permit from time to time to use the said rooms.


AND WHEREAS this Licence is entered into by the Licensor and the Licensee solely upon the above basis. By this Licence the Licensor licenses the Licensee to use (but not exclusively) all those rooms (hereinafter referred to as "the Rooms") on the 3rd Floor Double B/Sit floor of the building known as and situate at Flat 4, Cornwall Mansions, W.14 (hereinafter referred to as "the Building") together with the use of the entrance hall and lift (if any) the staircase outer door and vestibule of the Building and the furniture fixtures and effects now in the Rooms (more particularly set out in the Schedule of Contents annexed hereto) from (Twelve weeks) 21.2.76 until 15.5.76 for the sum of £116.40 on the following terms and conditions:


1. THE Licensee agrees to pay the said sum of £116.40 by 4 weekly instalments of £38.80 commencing on the 21st day of Feb, 1976 next and thereafter on Saturday of each 4th week until 15.5.76.


2. THE Licensee shall be responsible for the payment of all gas electric light and power which shall be consumed or supplied in or to the Rooms during the Licensee's occupation thereof and the amount of all charges made in respect of the telephone installed therein or in the Building so far as the same relates to his use thereof.


3. THE Licensee shall use his best endeavours amicably and peaceably to share the use of the Rooms with the Licensor and with such other licensees or invitees whom the Licensor shall from time to time permit to use the Rooms and shall not interfere with or otherwise obstruct such shared occupation in any way whatsoever.


4. THE Licensee shall keep the interior of the Rooms and all fixtures and fittings and fixtures therein in good and clean condition and complete repair (fair war and tear and damage by accidental fire only excepted) and immediately replace all broken glass.


5. THE Licensee shall preserve the furniture and effects in the said Rooms from being destroyed or damaged and make good pay for the repair of or replace with articles of a similar kind and of equal value such of the furniture and effects as may be destroyed lost broken or damaged (fair wear and tear thereof only excepted).


6. THE Licensee shall leave the furniture and effects at the expiration or sooner determination of this Licence in the Rooms or places in which they were at the commencement hereof.


7. THE Licensee shall pay for the washing (including ironing or pressing) of all counterpanes blankets and curtains which shall have been soiled during the Licensee's occupation (the reasonableuse thereof nevertheless to he allowed for).


8. ON notice in writing being given to the Licensee by the Licensor or her Agent of all wants of repair cleansings amendments and restorations to the interior of the Rooms and of all such destruction loss breakage or damage of or to the furniture and effects as the Licensee shall be bound to make good found therein the Licensee shall repair cleanse amend and restore or make good the same within two months of the giving of such notice.


9. THE Licensee shall not remove any furniture and effects from the Rooms without the previous consent in writing of the Licensor.


10. THE Licensee shall not carry on or permit to be carried on in the Rooms any profession trade or business whatsoever.


11. THE Licensee shall not do or suffer to he done in the Rooms any act or thing which may be a nuisance cause of damage or annoyance to the Licensor and the other occupiers or users of the Rooms or the Building or of any adjoining premises or which may vitiate any insurance of the Building against fire or otherwise or increase the ordinary premium thereon.


12. THE Licensee shall not affix to the windows of the Rooms externally or internally any Venetian blinds except of such colour and construction as shall be previously approved in writing by the Licensor or her Agent.


13. THE Licensee shall not hang or allow to be hung any clothes or other articles on the outside of the Rooms or the Building.


14. THE Licensee shall clean all the windows of the Rooms once at least in every month during his occupation.


15. THE Licensee shall not deposit any store of coal elsewhere than in the cellar or other receptacle provided for the purpose and shall not keep any combustible or offensive goods provisions or materials in the Rooms.


16. THE Licensee shall not cause or permit any waste spoil or destruction to the Rooms or to the Building.


17. THE Licensee shall not pull down alter add to or in any way interfere with the construction or arrangements of the Rooms without the previous consent in writing of the Licensor.


18. THE Licensee shall not keep any animals or birds in the Rooms Nor shall the Licensee permit any child or children to reside or stay in the Rooms.


19. THE Licensor shall not at any one time permit more than one other persons to use the Rooms together with the Licensor and the Licensee.


20. UNLESS prevented by any cause not under his control the Licensor shall keep the entrance hall staircase vestibule and lift (if any) clean and properly lighted.


21. THIS Licence is personal to the Licensee and shall not permit the use of the Rooms by any other person whatsoever.


22. UPON the Licensee being in breach of any of the conditions referred to above this Licence shall immediately determine without prejudice to any other remedies of the Licensor and the Licensee shall immediately cease his use of the Rooms and the Building as permitted hereunder.


SIGNED by the above-named Lincensor or Agent) S. Ritter


SIGNED by the above-named Lincensee:) Saville Rosella


The Licensee hereby states having received a copy of this contract.




If an Electric Meter is installed the rent will be reduced by 25 pence per week. S. Ritter Savelli Rossella"


S. paid Ritter £77.60 in cash on signing the agreement, being £38.80 the first four weeks cash in advance, plus £38.80 deposit against breakages or damage. H. telephoned his father and asked for a cheque to cover his first four weeks instalment and his deposit. Ritter received the cheque for £77.60 a few days later. So they moved in and stayed sharing the room with each other until the term of the agreement expired on 15th May. Then they each received and signed second agreements in the same terms as the first, and on 7th August they...

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1 books & journal articles
  • Exploring the Interfaces between Contract Law and Property Law: A UK Comparative Approach
    • United Kingdom
    • Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law Nbr. 13-4, December 2006
    • 1 December 2006
    ...exclusive possess ion. 128 Street v Mountford [1985] AC 809.129 Facchini v Bryson [1952] 1 TLR 1386.130 Somma v Hazel hurst and Another [1978] 1 WLR 1014.131 Antoniades v Vill iers [1990] 1 AC Exploring t he Interfaces betwe en Contract Law and Prope rty Law13 MJ 4 (2006) 429lease to be per......

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