• In the case of Javad v Aqil [1991] 1 WLR 1007, a ‘tenancy at will’ arises in situations where the tenant is granted occupation, but the parties have not agreed terms, and are only in the course of negotiations.

Facts of Javad v Aqil [1991] 1 WLR 1007

  • The C landlord, Aqil, let out a shop premises to the D tenant, Javad
  • Negotiations were ongoing between the parties, with hopes to end in a long-term lease
  • With the negotiations taking longer than expected, the D began to pay the C quarterly rent
  • Eventually, no agreement was reached, and the D asked the tenant to leave the premises
  • The tenant refused, arguing he had an implied period tenancy, and thus was protected from eviction by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
  • The landlord argued there was only a tenancy at will

Issues in Javad v Aqil [1991] 1 WLR 1007

  • Considering the payments and ongoing negotiations, was there a tenancy at will, or an implied period tenancy?

Held by the Court of Appeal

  • Appeal dismissed, only a mere tenancy at will had been created. There was only one payment plus the tenant had been permitted possession in anticipation of a lease being granted, the parties had not agreed terms.

Lord Justice Nicholls

Lord Justice Nicholls found that he could not accept the D tenant’s argument that there was an implied period tenancy as they were “contrary to both principle and to authority” [1012]

The situation depends on, as the law implies, “what was agreed and all the surrounding circumstances, the terms the parties are to be taken to have intended to apply.”

  • However, “Where there is more than the simple situation, the inference sensibly and reasonably to be drawn will depend upon a fair consideration of all the circumstances, of which the payment of rent on a periodical basis is only one, albeit a very important one” [1012]

In the present case, the parties were negotiating a proposed lease and the tenant was given possession in the meantime anticipating an agreement.

  • “the fact that the parties have not yet agreed terms will be a factor to be taken into account in ascertaining their intention. It will often be a weighty factor.” [1012]
  • “They cannot sensibly be taken to have agreed that he shall have a periodic tenancy, with all the consequences flowing from that, at a time when they are still not agreed about the terms on which the prospective tenant shall have possession under the proposed lease, and when he has been permitted to go into possession or remain in possession merely as an interim measure in the expectation that all will be regulated and regularised in due course when terms are agreed and a formal lease granted.” [1013]