Street v Mountford [1985]


  • Street granted Mountford the right to occupy two rooms in his house, with exclusive possession, for a weekly rent and determinable on 14 days’ notice
  • Street had Mountford sign a declaration that the right to occupy constituted a licence and not a lease
  • Mountford sought a declaration that the agreement constituted a lease


  • Was the agreement a lease?


  • Yes


  • A lease can be defined as the grant of exclusive possession for a term at a rent (although rent is not strictly required)
  • A court is entitled to look behind the label given to an agreement to decide whether in fact a lease was granted, but disguised as a licence
  • The agreement here was clearly a lease, therefore Mountford was entitled to legislative protection under landlord and tenant legislation
  • This case put an end to ‘sham’ licences, reversing cases such as Somma v Hazlehurst [1978]
  • For context to the lease vs licence debate in land law, go to land law notes on leases
RELATED CASE  Prudential Assurance v London Residuary Body [1992]

Posted in Land Law Revision Notes.

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