Monmouth BC v Marlog, The Times (4 May 1994)
Intention to create legal relationships in tenancy arrangements.
Mr. Roberts was a tenant of a residential property with three bedrooms under a written tenancy agreement with the landlord, Monmouth Borough Council. Ms. Marlog and her two daughters moved in with him, paying Mr. Roberts a weekly stipend. When the Council started possession proceedings against Mr. Roberts, Mr. Roberts left the property and Ms. Marlog claimed that she was entitled to remain in occupation as she was a sub-tenant of the residential property.
The issue arose as to whether the co-occupier of the residential property was a sub-tenant of the tenant or a mere licensee or lodger with the rights to enjoy the property.
The Court held that, where one person is the tenant of the flat and another moves into the residential premises, the Court will “be slow to infer a common intention that the one who is not the tenant shall be the sub-tenant of the one who is.” (p 33). The more likely inference to be drawn is that the parties intend a house-sharing arrangement, yet under the tenancy of one of them. On the facts of the case, there was a written agreement granting tenancy to one person from the landlord, and no other written agreement between the tenant and the other occupant to the effect that she would be his sub-tenant. This strengthens the inference that the parties did not intend to create a legal relationship of sub-tenancy. There was solely a right to use or enjoy the property. Further, the Court emphasised that the informal nature of the arrangement renders it unlikely to ascertain that an intention between the two persons, to create a relationship of landlord and tenant. Thus, the Court did not find evidence to support the assertion that Ms. Marlog was a sub-tenant in the residential property.
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