Ray v Hazeldine

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Ray v Hazeldine [1904] 2 Ch 17; 73 LJ Ch 537; 90 LT 703

EASEMENT, EASEMENT OF NECESSITY, RIGHT TO LIGHT, IMPLIED RESERVATION, EXPRESS WORDS, DEED OF CONVEYANCE

Facts

The defendant used to own two adjacent houses. In 1895, he conveyed one of the houses to the plaintiff’s husband, who subsequently conveyed it to the plaintiff. The defendant did not expressly reserve to himself any rights over the granted tenement. In the western wall of the house that the defendant retained, there were two windows overlooking a yard, which was part of the plaintiff’s premises. One of the windows lighted a pantry, which could not be lighted in any other way save for borrowed light and it could not be used as a pantry without light. The plaintiff erected a wall in her yard close to the two windows, which blocked the light to them. The defendant knocked down the wall from his premises. It was then again re-erected and knocked down. The plaintiff sought a declaration that she was entitled to build on her premises so as to obstruct the light from the two windows, an injunction to prevent the defendant from knocking down the wall again and sued him for damages.

Issue

Was there an implied reservation to the defendant of the right to access the light to the pantry window?

Held

The decision was in favour of the plaintiff.

(1) If a vendor wishes to reserve any right in a nature of an easement for the benefit of his property, he must do this by express words in the deed of conveyance.

(2) This rule is subject to exceptions. One of them is the easement of necessity – when the enjoyment of the alleged right over the adjoining land is necessary to a property which is not conveyed, the easement is considered to be implicitly reserved, although it was not reserved by express words.

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