Land law ePortfolio

You are a trainee solicitor at MDX Solicitors LLP. You are working in the conveyancing department of the firm under the supervision of Hassan Kayani.
You have been instructed by Peter Jarvis, who has raised with you a number of issues relating to a house purchase that he completed in 2013. Your firm did not act on the house purchase but Peter has now approached the firm to ask for some advice.

He has provided you with the following information:
Peter purchased Hawthorne Cottage in August 2013. He paid £325,000 for the freehold title to the cottage, which was part of a larger estate known as Hawthorne Farm in Staffordshire. He bought the property with the aid of a mortgage from Barclays Bank Plc.
Peter was subsequently registered as proprietor of Hawthorne Cottage and a copy of the register entries at the Land Registry are attached.
Peter purchased Hawthorne Cottage from the owner of Hawthorne Farm, Jeremy Smythe. Prior to making his offer to purchase Peter had visited Hawthorne Cottage under the supervision of Jeremy twice. On both occasions he had noted a number of items at the property that had particularly attracted him to the cottage. He maintains that his offer to purchase was made on the basis that these items would be included as part of the sale. The items were as follows:

� A large, dual fuel, range cooker in the kitchen. He describes this as a “Rangemaster Deluxe dual fuel cooker which had four separate oven compartments and a large griddle and wok ring.” He was particularly taken with the cooker because he is a very keen amateur chef with aspirations of owning his own gastro pub one day.

� Fitted wardrobes from the master bedroom. He tells you that these had appeared to him to be bespoke pieces of furniture because they fitted the space in the bedroom perfectly. Apparently some damage has been caused by their removal which will now require some re-plastering work.

� An ornamental fountain in the garden. He tells you that he “fell in love” with this water feature the moment he saw it and it was a real centrepiece of the garden. It was made of cast iron and had a cherub at its centre with a circular pool surround.

Peter acknowledges that these items were never discussed with Jeremy. He tells you that he simply expected to acquire them as part of the purchase. Unfortunately, when he moved into the property in August he discovered that all three items had been removed. He immediately contacted his solicitors at the time who checked the contract for sale but advised him that these had not been mentioned as part of the contractual arrangements and that as a consequence there was little they could do to help.

Peter tried to take this up with Jeremy Smythe but got nowhere. On top of all of this a further issue has arisen more recently which has resulted in a further dispute between the two of them.
Peter tells you that just prior to him purchasing Hawthorne Cottage Jeremy’s mother had been living there. In fact Peter had met her briefly on one of his visits walking across the farm track at Hawthorne Farm to get to the village. She told him that the farm track provided a useful shortcut to get to the village shops – the alternative being the drive leading from the cottage to the main road which meant a 20 minute walk to get there. Once Peter moved in he used the same farm track across Hawthorne Farm for a number of weeks but last week he received a letter at the cottage from Jeremy saying that his use of the track was trespassing and if he did not stop using it Jeremy would be instructing lawyers.
Peter has marked the track on a sketch plan he has produced which is attached. His view is that his enjoyment and use of the cottage would be hampered if Jeremy insisted on this ridiculous ban and that Jeremy is only doing this because he is upset about Peter’s complaint about the cooker, wardrobes and fountain.
Peter has asked you for the following advice:

� Where does he stand legally regarding the cooker, wardrobes and fountain? Can he insist that Jeremy return these items to the cottage?

� Is Jeremy entitled to stop him from using the farm track across Hawthorne Farm and, if so, on what basis?

Your training principal, Hassan Kayani, has asked you to produce a memorandum for him to review containing the relevant law, how it applies to the issues raised and the advice that you think should be given to Peter Jarvis.

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