Q&As

Where a neighbouring landowner has been in occupation of a field for a number of years under an informal agreement, is this a tenancy at will? How would the owner of the field regain possession?

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Produced in partnership with Amanda Eilledge of Hardwicke Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 07/10/2016

The following Property Disputes Q&A produced in partnership with Amanda Eilledge of Hardwicke Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a neighbouring landowner has been in occupation of a field for a number of years under an informal agreement, is this a tenancy at will? How would the owner of the field regain possession?
  • Case study
  • Possible interests held by the parties
  • Periodic tenancy or tenancy at will?
  • Notice to quit

Where a neighbouring landowner has been in occupation of a field for a number of years under an informal agreement, is this a tenancy at will? How would the owner of the field regain possession?

Case study

A neighbouring landowner has been in occupation of a field for a number of years under an informal agreement, paying £1 per month to the owner in annual £12 instalments. The other landowner now wishes to remove the neighbour from the property.

Possible interests held by the parties

There are three possibilities: the parties may have created a licence, a periodic tenancy or a tenancy at will. A licence would only arise if the landowner retained possession of the land. If as a matter of fact, the landowner granted the neighbour exclusive possession of the field, then either a periodic tenancy or a tenancy at will has been created.

The issue for a landowner is therefore how to determine which of the three above possibilities has occurred.

Periodic tenancy or tenancy at will?

The extent of the rights granted by the landowner and accepted by the neighbour largely depends upon the parties’ objective intentions at the time of their agreement.

If one party permits another to go into exclusive possession of his land on payment of a rent of so much per week or month or year, in the absence of any other evidence, it

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