A Licence Can End Up Being A Real Nuisance

Readers will recall that for a landlord to be liable for a nuisance committed by its tenant, the landlord must have authorised the nuisance, either by participating actively or directly in the nuisance or by letting the property in circumstances where there was a very high degree of probability that the letting would result in the nuisance (Lawrence v Coventry [2014] UKSC 46). The Court of Appeal has made it clear in Cocking v Eacott and Waring [2016] EWCA Civ 140 that the situation is quite different where the nuisance is committed by a licensee.

Background

Mrs Waring owned, maintained and paid the bills for a property which was occupied by her daughter, Ms Eacott, who did not pay any rent and had no formal agreement in place with her mother. Mr and Mrs Cocking lived in the property adjacent and had complained of nuisance in the form of shouting and barking since 2004. To put this in context, Ms Eacott was in 2011 subject to an ASBO for the shouting (although her mother was unaware of this until 2011).

In February 2012, the Cockings commenced proceedings against Mrs Waring and Ms Eacott claiming damages for nuisance. This led to a breakdown in the relationship between the mother and daughter, which culminated in Mrs Waring serving a notice to quit upon her daughter and a few months later she obtained a possession order for the property, although she chose not to enforce it. The Cockings offered to settle if Mrs Waring permanently evicted her daughter from the property but this offer was rejected and the case went to trial.

At first instance, having found that the arrangement between Mrs Waring and her daughter amounted to a bare licence, the Judge ordered Mrs Waring to pay GBP 1,000 and Ms Eacott to pay GBP 3,500 in damages to the Cockings for the nuisance caused by the barking (but not the shouting as it had stopped following the ASBO). Mrs Waring and Ms Eacott were also found to be jointly and severally liable for the Cockings' costs. Mrs Waring appealed this decision.

The Appeal

The issues on appeal were, as a licensor:

Could Mrs Waring be liable for a nuisance caused by her licensee? Should she be ordered to pay all of the Cockings' costs on a jointly and severally basis with her licensee? With regards to the first point, the Court found that Mrs Waring had been...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT