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Quennell v Maltby [1979]

Facts

  • A landlord owned a mortgaged house, which he let out to a tenant
  • He wished to take possession of the house, but couldn’t as his tenant was a statutory tenant
  • As there was only £1,000 outstanding on the mortgage, the landlord’s wife bought out the mortgage and sought possession herself

Issue

  • Could the wife take possession?

Decision

  • No

Reasoning

  • Although on the face of the claim for possession, the wife could take possession irrespective of protective tenant legislation, a court is entitled to look behind a formal legal relationship
  • As the wife was not enforcing her security against her husband, but rather acting on behalf of her husband against the tenant, possession would be denied
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