Newlon Housing Tenancy Agreement

At the hearing before his judge of honour, Mr. Tibber, in Edmonton County Court on June 6, 1996, the husband requested a deferral on the basis that he had proposed to apply under section 24 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 for an order for property adjustment and to transfer the joint lease in his sole name. The judge refused a postponement on the grounds that the request had been made too late. But the Court of Appeal overturned his decision and said the husband had a good chance of transferring the lease and that justice was done, that he would be given the opportunity to pursue his claim. Once a property has been accepted and registered as “under offer”, it is practically no longer available. He has been consulted and accepted and is awaiting the signing of the lease. If the registered party changes its mind, the property is offered to another party who has looked at the property. Although this argument has been made with enthusiasm, I cannot accept it. This would strongly convince me that the general term “ownership” in Article 24 should be interpreted as excluding any interest in a lease only because it can be treated under other legal provisions. It is true that the Matrimonial Homes Act 1983 provides that the lessor is heard before any transfer of lease, whereas the 1973 Act does not. Parliament may not even have taken into account the practical likelihood of property adjustment with respect to periodic rentals.

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