Chan Po Kin v Yau Wai Yin

Court of Appeal
Civil Appeal No. 119 of 2014
Lam V-P, Kwan and Chu JJA
Land Law
30 June 2015

Co-ownership – tenants-in-common – one tenant-in-common entitled to bring possession proceedings without joining other tenants-in-common as

X and Y were two of four tenants-in-common of land who leased it as landlords to R. As R did not exercise her option to renew the tenancy before it expired, X brought successful proceedings against R in the Lands Tribunal to recover vacant possession of the property and mesne profits. R appealed, arguing that X acting alone had no locus standi to sue.

Held, dismissing the appeal, that:

  • Each tenant-in-common had a separate and distinct interest in the property and could deal with his own undivided share as he liked. He could lease it or dispose of his right to possession to a stranger without the concurrence of the other tenants-in-common. Similarly, he could enforce his interest in the land on his own without joining the other co-tenants.
  • Here, R had no right to remain in occupation after the tenancy expired by the effluxion of time. There was no renewal of the tenancy, no statutory holding over or periodic tenancy. There was also no evidence that R had permission from the other co-owners to remain in occupation.
  • Accordingly, X was entitled, in the exercise of her right and interest to possession as a tenant-in-common, to claim possession from R, who was a trespasser after the tenancy expired, and mesne profits based on R’s occupation and use of the property, without joining the other tenants-in-common as parties to the proceedings.

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