Leases restored to register took priority over lease of same space (Gold Harp)

Leases restored to register took priority over lease of same space (Gold Harp)

In what circumstances will the court order rectification of the register and what is the position with the priority of competing interests? The Court of Appeal confirmed that two leasehold titles should be restored to the register and that they took priority over a subsequent lease of the same space.

Gold Harp Properties v Macleod [2014] EWCA Civ 1084 involved an appeal against a county court decision, requiring the alteration of Land Registry titles relating to a property with a ground and first floor and roofspace.

The judge decided that:

  • bailiffs had not effected a physical entry and even if they had on the relevant date, it would not have given rise to a forfeiture because the claimants' previous tender of the rent had been effective
  • the register should be rectified so that:
    • the claimants’ two leasehold titles of the roofspace were reinstated and re-opened as if neither had ever been closed
    • Gold Harp’s leasehold title (a new lease of the roofspace granted following the purported forfeiture of the claimants’ leases) be altered or rectified so that the tenants’ titles were entered in the schedule of notices of leases, both to rank in priority to Gold Harp’s leasehold title

The Court of Appeal dismissed Gold Harp’s appeal on the rectification issue.

What were the facts of the case?

The property was acquired in 1988 by a group of teachers with a view to its redevelopment into four flats – one each on the ground and first floors and two in the roofspace – which would provide teaching and accommodation facilities for autistic children. Four 135-year leases were created, the two claimants each becoming tenant of half of the roofspace.

The two lower floors were acquired in 1999 by a company owned and controlled by a property developer. Those floors were converted into four flats. The claimants retained title to their respective parts of the roofspace. Fresh leases were entered into in 2000 in respect of those flats, with terms of 135 years running from 1988.

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About the author:
Joanna is a commercial property specialist. Prior to joining the LexisPSL Property team, she was a transactional lawyer. She qualified in 1995 at Shoosmiths and subsequently worked at Nabarro, Charles Russell, Bircham Dyson Bell and Pemberton Greenish. She has wide-ranging experience of all non-contentious property transactions, with a particular emphasis on landlord and tenant work.