Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nice try

You can’t keep a devious tenant down. I read in one of my legal journals of a tenant who issued legal proceedings against his landlord and gave as the landlord address for service of the court paperwork, the building where his own flat was. When the landlord failed to respond to the proceedings (because, surprise surprise, he had not received them), the tenant obtained a ‘default judgment’ (which is a procedure for obtaining a court judgment on the basis that the defendant has not responded to the claim).

When the judgment was challenged (when the landlord finally found out about it), the tenant said that he was justified in giving the building where he lived as the landlords address, as the landlord went there to collect rent and it was therefore a ‘place of business’ within the meaning of the court rules. The Court of Appeal however did not agree. Letting a property, they said, was not capable of converting that property into a place of business, as the landlord only has limited power to enter it. The judgment was set aside.

For those interested, the case is O’Hara v. McDougal [2005].

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