Lloyds Bank plc v Rosset

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Lloyds Bank plc v Rosset
File:Vincent Farm, on the junction of Vincent Road and Manston Road - geograph.org.uk - 736448.jpg
The derilict Vincent Farmhouse
Court House of Lords
Decided 29 March 1990
Citation(s) [1990] UKHL 14, [1991] 1 AC 107, [1990] 2 WLR 867, [1990] 1 All ER 1111
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Lord Bridge of Harwich, Lord Griffiths, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle
Keywords
Constructive trust, actual occupation

Lloyds Bank plc v Rosset [1990] UKHL 14 is an English land law and English trusts law case dealing with the rights of cohabitees. The case establishes that contributing to the cost of running a house does not, in itself, create a beneficial interest. The opinions of Lord Bridge were doubted in Stack v Dowden, where a later House of Lords said "the law has moved on".

Facts

Mr and Mrs Rosset had bought a semi-derelict house called Vincent Farmhouse on Manston Road, in Thanet, Kent, with Mr Rosset’s family trust money. The trustees had insisted on his sole ownership as a condition for taking the trust money. He had funded the cost of the renovations to the house. She had made no financial contributions to the acquisition or renovations, but had done decorating and helped by assisting in the building works. Mrs Rosset was in possession of the home on 7 November 1982, but contracts were not exchanged until 23 November. Mr Rosset took out a loan from Lloyd's Bank and secured it with a mortgage on the home. The charge was executed on 14 December, without Mrs Rosset’s knowledge, and completion took place on 17 December. The charge was registered on 7 February 1983. Then Mr Rosset defaulted on the loan. Lloyd's Bank sought possession of the home. Mrs Rosset argued that she had a right to stay because she had not consented to the mortgage, and she had an overriding interest in the property. Under the Land Registration Act 1925 section 70(1)(g) (now LRA 2002 Schedule 3, paragraph 2) the bank's interest therefore ranked behind hers. The bank contended she had no property rights in the home, because the work she had done was not enough to give her an equitable proprietary right.

Judgment

Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal held that Mrs Rosset was in actual occupation of her home. Nicholls LJ held that it had been a common intention, on the facts, that she would share in the property. She had done acts to her detriment, and she was in actual occupation at the relevant date through the builders. The term ‘actual occupation’ does not require physical presence, and daily visits of Mrs Rosset to the semi derilict house was enough.[1] He also suggested builders for Mrs Rosset were also occupying on her behalf.

Purchas LJ said that the meaning of actual occupation should reflect equitable rules, and so undiscoverable people’s interests would not bind.

Mustill LJ dissented on the point that she was in actual occupation.

House of Lords

The House of Lords held the date to determine whether Mrs Rosset was in occupation under LRA 1925 section 70 was the date the charge was created, i.e. 17 December. However, Mrs Rosset had no beneficial interest in the property. There were no discussions to that effect, and the work Mrs Rosset did was not enough for a constructive trust.

Lord Bridge gave the leading judgment, holding that because there had never been any express agreement that she would have a share, nor any contributions to the purchase price, Mrs Rosset could establish no right in the home. He said the following.[2]

Lord Griffiths, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver and Lord Jauncey concurred.

Significance

Lloyds Bank plc v Rosset was subjected to heavy criticism for failing to recognise that work might generate an equitable interest in a family home. It was said in Stack v Dowden by Lord Walker that:

See also

Notes

  1. [1989] Ch 350, 377
  2. [1991] 1 AC 107, 132-133

External links