Lords hears property debate

Judgment is now pending in the House of Lords in a case of considerable significance in property circles. The Law Lords have been asked to overrule lower court decisions that a sub-tenant of agricultural property was entitled to sidestep possession moves brought after the tenant accepted notice to quit and agreed not to issue a counter notice. The landlords argued that the notice to quit ended the tenancies of both the tenant and the sub-tenants. But the sub-tenants argued successfully in the County Court and Appeal Court that while the notice was effective as far as the tenant was concerned it did not end the sub-tenancy. The sub-tenants claim that because the tenant had agreed not to issue a counter notice this gave the notice to quit the legal status of a “surrender” of tenancy. And, under the provisions of the 1925 Law of Property Act, although surrender of a tenancy ends the tenancy itself, it does not automatically bring to an end any existing sub-tenancies.