To whom do Law of Property Act receivers owe duties? (Purewal v Countrywide Residential Lettings)

To whom do Law of Property Act receivers owe duties? (Purewal v Countrywide Residential Lettings)

Do Law of Property Act (LPA) receivers owe any duties to a mortgagor who is subsequently adjudged bankrupt? Matthew Weaver, a barrister at St Philips Chambers, reviews the decision of the Court of Appeal in Purewal v Countrywide Residential Lettings.

Original news

Purewal v Countrywide Residential Lettings Ltd and others [2015] EWCA Civ 1122, [2015] All ER (D) 60 (Nov)

The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the claimant's appeal against the dismissal of his claim for damages for breach of duty against the second and third defendant receivers. The judge had been right to dismiss the claim on the basis that any duties owed by the receivers in relation to an insurance claim had been owed exclusively to the claimant's trustee in bankruptcy, and the claimant had not produced the evidence necessary to establish his case on causation.

What was the background to the appeal?

The appellant, Mr Purewal, was the freehold owner of a buy-to-let property. The property was subject to a mortgage and, in circumstances where Mr Purewal fell into arrears under the mortgage, the mortgagee appointed LPA receivers over the property. The receivers informed Mr Purewal of their appointment and told him to cancel any policies of insurance he held over the property as the property would be subject to a policy of insurance taken out by the receivers during their appointment.

A leak occurred in the property which caused water damage throughout the property. The leak was reported to the receivers but they failed to notify their insurer and, as such, no successful insurance claim was submitted in respect of the damage. The property was therefore left by the receivers in a damaged state.

Mr Purewal was made bankrupt around the same time as the leak at the property. The official receiver (OR) was not appointed as trustee in bankruptcy until the leak had been reported to

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About the author:

Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and joined the Restructuring and Insolvency team at Lexis®PSL in September 2014 from Shoosmiths LLP, where he was a senior associate in the restructuring and insolvency team.

Primarily focused on contentious and advisory corporate and personal insolvency work, Stephen’s experience includes acting for office-holders on a wide range of issues, including appointments, investigations and the recovery and realisation of assets (including antecedent transaction claims), and for creditors in respect of the impact on them of the insolvency of debtors and counterparties.