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Villarosa v Ryan

In Villarosa v Ryan [2018] EWHC 1914 (Ch), the High Court allowed a lessee’s appeal from a decision of the county court, which had held that the Executors of a deceased lessee were not entitled to serve a s. 42 notice under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 more than two years after Probate was granted.  The county court recorder had held that s. 42(4A) of the Act had this effect.  The appellant, who had purchased the lease and taken the benefit of the s. 42 notice from the Executors, successfully argued that the time limit in s. 42(4A) only applied where the Executors were relying on the deceased lessee’s period of ownership under s. 39(3A).  Both those provisions had been introduced by s. 132 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.  Looking at the purpose of these special provisions, as explained in the Consultation Paper which led to the 2002 Act, and a statement by the Minister in Parliament (which could be considered by virtue of Pepper v Hart [1993] AC 593), it was clear that they were not intended to limit the right of personal representatives when they were relying on their own period of two years ownership of the lease under s. 39(2) of the 1993 Act.

The High Court also dismissed a cross-appeal by the landlord, who argued that the assignment of the s. 42 notice after the transfer had been executed, but before it was registered, meant that it was deemed withdrawn by virtue of s. 43(3) of the 1993 Act. Mr Justice Morgan held (applying Brown & Root v Sun Alliance [2001] Ch 733) that the assignment was valid.  It was expressed to take effect on registration of the transfer and until then the assignor remained the legal owner of the lease.

Anthony Radevsky acted for the successful Appellant.

The judgment can be found here

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