Nunn v Dalrymple

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Nunn v Dalyrymple (1989) 59 P&CR 231

Landlord and tenant; family relationship between parties; whether lease or license


Mr Chapman owned the leasehold estate of a farm which was managed by his son. A lodge within the farm fell vacant, and the son arranged for his parents-in-law, the Dalyrymples, to renovate and occupy it. Upon completing the renovations, the Dalyrymples gave up their secured tenancy of a council flat and moved into the lodge, making periodic payments to Mr Chapman. Mr Chapman sold the premises to Mr Nunn with vacant possession and he served a notice to quit on the Dalyrymples.


The Dalyrymples contended they were protected tenants of the lodge. They argued they were paying rent, and held exclusive possession for a term and, as such, were tenants under the test in Street v Mountford [1985] AC 809. They also argued their having given up their secured tenancy on their council flat was evidence of their reliance upon there being a tenancy, and an intention to create legal relations with Mr Chapman. Mr Nunn argued the arrangement was a family agreement which was not intended to give rise to legal obligations. The fact that there was no clear agreement when the Dalyrymples moved into the lodge regarding the payment of rent, indicated that there was no tenancy ever contemplated by either party.


The agreement was held to be a tenancy. Where there is exclusive possession for a term and the payment of rent, there is prima facie, a tenancy under Street v Mountford [1985] AC 809. It is possible for this presumption to be rebutted in the context of family relationships, but the existence of a familial link between the parties was in and of itself insufficient to rebut the presumption. Accordingly, the Dalyrymples were protected tenants.

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