Land Law

Land Law

 

PROBLEM SCENARIO

Acacia Garden comprises a beautiful country house and the surrounding ground. It is located 30 miles out of Norwich in rural Norfolk. It was owned by Scott Smith, a wealthy entrepreneur many years ago. When Scott died in December 1982, he left Acacia Garden to his grandchildren Andy and Brian. Andy was 25 years old at the time. Brian was 16.

Up till 2011, Andy and Brian shared Acacia Garden as a holiday home, used sparingly whenever one of them decided to spend some time there.

In 2012, Andy ran into financial problems with his own business. He spoke to Brian on one occasion about possibly selling Acacia Garden. Brian did not agree with it due to the weak market position of large countryside properties but agreed to Andy finding out more about the potential value of Acacia Garden.

In April 2013, Andy invited Percy, a prospective purchaser, to Acacia Garden on a number of occasions. Andy explained to Percy that this was his holiday home which he no longer needed. Percy was very impressed by the style, location and maintenance of the property. They concluded a contract of sale for £600,000 on 15th May 2013.

The sale was completed on 10th June 2013 when Percy’s conveyancer paid over the price and received the deed of conveyance amongst other documents. Percy moved into Acacia Garden as his new home the next day.

On 15th June, Brian arrived at Acacia Garden, intending to stay for the weekend as he usually does once a month. Both he and Percy were surprised by the presence of each other. Brian was not informed by Andy about the sale. On trying the contact Andy, Brian and Percy learnt that he had boarded a flight out of the country in the afternoon of 10th June. It is unknown where Andy is now or whether he will return to the UK in the foreseeable future amidst his financial troubles.

Percy was registered as the proprietor of Acacia Garden on 24th June 2013. In August, a famous author published a novel with some scenes set in Acacia Garden. The market value of the property doubled to £1.2 million as a result.

Advise Brian and Percy regarding what happened in the scenario within the context of land law, with particular emphasis and critical analysis as to the likely outcome of this dispute between them. Do not draw assumptions about factual aspects of the scenario which are not already stated or implied above.
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