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Question: Land Law Problem Question Essay
LLB Law 2nd Year
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Mark graded: 60 (2:1)

In 2014 Astrid, an accountant, bought a one-bedroom flat with an adjoining garage. At that time her girlfriend, Bernice, worked at the estate agents which was selling the flat. By virtue of her position there, Bernice was able to secure for Astrid a £2,000 discount on the purchase price of the property. In 2016, Bernice gave up her job at the estate agents’ in order to pursue a career as a musician; since then, she has spent a significant portion of each year on tour. When not on tour, Bernice spends some of her time staying with friends and between five and eight months of each year with Astrid. Bernice makes no contributions to the mortgage, though once, after a successful tour, she gave Astrid £1,000 which Astrid chose to use to pay off some of the mortgage loan. 

Earlier this year, while Bernice was on a lengthy tour abroad, Astrid decided to make a cash sale of the flat to Craig, a friend of a friend. Craig, who had recently benefited from an inheritance, was about to begin working nearby and wanted to buy a property quickly. When Craig inspected the flat he found an array of musical instruments in the bedroom and the living area. Craig said to Astrid: “You must be a very creative accountant!” Astrid didn’t respond. In the bedroom Craig noticed two toothbrushes, women’s clothes, jewellery and toiletries. In the garage there was a car and a motorbike. “Does anyone live here with you?”, Craig asked Astrid. She replied: “there’s someone who stays with me sometimes but it would be stretching things to say they live here. I bought the flat, and it’s mine to sell. If you’ve any doubts, check the Land Register.” Craig checked with the Land Registry and, discovering that Astrid was sole legal title-holder to the property and that there were no interests registered against the title, decided he would buy the flat.

This week, just as the conveyance of the flat from Astrid to Craig was to be completed, Bernice returned from tour. When Astrid told her of the sale to Craig, Bernice said it couldn’t go ahead. “I occupy this flat. I reckon I’ve got property rights, and I’ve certainly got human rights!” 

Advise Bernice.

Answer: In this scenario, we can discern that Astrid according to the orthodox are recognized as sole legal title to the property. However, we can build a case regarding the relationship of Bernice in the estate – Bernice can potentially enforce overriding interest (Section 70, Land Registration Act 1925) which can bind disponees (Craig) even if this title has not been registered as she would have both proprietary right and actual occupation in it. In order for Bernice to build a case, she has to show both having a property interest (LRA 2002 sch 1 para 2) as well as the right of actual occupation (s.70(1)(g)) to establish overriding interest.

In terms of legal title, Astrid arguably hold the sole legal title for the flat. Even if, Bernice helped him to secure the £2,000 discount on the purchase price of the property and gave him £1,000 which Astrid chose to use to pay off some of the m...(short extract)

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  • Subject: Law
  • Course: Land Law
  • Level: Degree
  • Year: 2nd/3rd
  • Mark: 60%
  • Words: 1291
  • Date submitted: November 30, 2018
  • Date written: March, 2018
  • References: Yes
  • Document type: Essay*
  • Essay ID: 8572

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