Law Case Study on Property

Essay by tonymegUniversity, Bachelor's May 2004

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John is a student of a University. He lives in a bed-sitting studio near the University. He has an arrangement with the owner of the studio Mary, described as a licence, whereby Mary gives John the right to occupy the studio for one year. Mary reserves the right to enter the studio at any time and retains a key. Mary visits the studio one day and sees John's posters on the wall supporting the Campaign to legalize the smoking of Marijuana (a dangerous drug). Mary immediately gives John notice to vacate the studio saying "I won't allow you making trouble on my property". Advise John.

The essence of this case is whether John's occupation is under a lease or just under a licence. The distinction between a lease and a licence is important because John will enjoy the security of tenure legislation found in the Land and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (LTCO), while he does not if he occupies the studio under a licence.

John will qualify as a lessee if his occupation display the certain characteristics: Exclusion Possession and Fixed Duration.

Exclusive Possession

In order for occupation to qualify as a lease, John must be given exclusive possession of the studio. It is exclusive possession that justifies the recognition of John's occupation as an estate or interest in the land itself. It marks the degree of physical control over the land that entitles John to call the land his own and to keep out anyone he does not wish to enter, including Mary. If exclusive possession is not given, John will only enjoy a licence to occupy, which confers no estate or interest in the land.

In this case, John is given exclusive possession because he is given the right to occupy the studio for one year. Although John and...