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MASSOUD & ANOR. v. KHALIL & ORS.


  • appeal
  • 1959-06-25
  • COURT OF APPEAL
  • GLR 278-280
  • Print

GRANVILLE SHARP J.A., ACOLATSE J. AND SMITH J.


Summary

Rent Control Ordinance 1952?-sec. 11 (1)(e)?-Statutory tenant?-Application for order for possession?-Period of notice required.

Headnotes

House No. D.971/3, Knutsford Avenue, Accra, was the property of Anthony Massoud and his brother Anis Massoud. In the action for possession with which this case was concerned there were seven defendants, whose names are immaterial to this report. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd 4th, and 6th defendants were tenants of the owners, renting stores in the said building. The 5th defendant was a sub-tenant of the 4th defendant. The 7th defendant was a sub-tenant of the 6th defendant.The owners required possession of the premises in order to re-develop them by a conversion involving considerable structural alteration. They therefore caused the following letter (subsequently admitted in evidence as Exhibit ?"A?") to be sent to the defendants on the 29th September, 1955:?"Upon instructions of my clients Messrs Anthony and Anis Massoud of Accra, your Landlords, I have to inform you that they my clients require their premises House No. D971/3 Knutsford Avenue, Accra, of which you are a tenant, for remodelling and re-development.?"I am therefore to give you one (1) month?'s notice which I hereby do, to determine your tenancy on the 31st day of October, 1955.?"You are hereby further notified that my clients intend to apply to the Court six months after 30th April, 1956, for an Order for recovery of possession of the said premises and for your ejectment therefrom if you have not already vacated the premises by that time.?"On the 19th October, 1955 Anis Massoud (one of the two co-owners) wrote to each of the defendants the following letter, subsequently admitted in evidence as Exhibit ?"B?":?" I have to inform you that I have disposed of my share of Property No. D.971/3 Knutsford Avenue, Accra to Messrs. G. Abboud & Co. ?"As you occupy one of the Stores in this property, all rents should now be paid to the afore-mentioned Company, as from 1st October, 1955.?"On the 27th October, 1955 the defendants were notified to the same effect by the Solicitor for Messrs. G. Abboud & Co.The defendants not vacating the premises, the owners (now Anthony Massoud & G. Abboud & Co.) issued on the 1st November, 1956 a writ in the Land Court, Accra, claiming recovery of possession by virtue of sec. 11(1)(e) of the Rent Control Ordinance, 1952, which provides as follows:?" . . . no order against a tenant for the recovery of possession of, or for ejectment from, any premises shall be made or given by a Court, except in the following cases:?-(e) where the lease has expired and the tenant is a statutory tenant and the landlord?-(i) intends to pull down or remodel the premises; or [p.279](ii) requires possession of the premises to carry out a scheme of re-development; and (iii) has given six months notice to the tenant of his intention to apply for an order for recovery of possession of, or ejectment from, the premises:?"At the hearing, the issues set out for trial were:?-(a) whether or not the plaintiffs required possession of the premises to carry out a scheme of development, and had taken the necessary steps for that purpose; (b) whether plaintiffs had given the requisite notices.Counsel for defendants took a preliminary objection at the hearing, the material point being that the notice contained in the letter, Exhibit ?"A,?" did not conform with the requirements of the Rent Control Ordinance, and was therefore invalid and of no legal effect, and that at the time the said notice was purported to have been given, the defendants were not statutory tenants.The learned Judge gave a ruling on 30th April, 1958 upon the objections raised, and gave his interpretation upon section 11(1)(e) of the Ordinance, holding ?"that by the letter Exhibit ?"A,?" at the date of the application the defendants, who were all statutory tenants, had been given more than six months?' time to look for other accommodation and therefore section 11(1)(e) (iii) has been complied with.?" The learned Judge was satisfied that the notice was duly given to the defendants as statutory tenants under the Ordinance, and he ruled that the objection failed.After this ruling, the plaintiffs gave evidence on the merits. The defendants did not cross-examine, nor did they call any evidence. The Court then gave judgment for the plaintiffs for an Order for the recovery of possession of the said premises.The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal against the whole decision of the trial-Court (Civil Appeal No. 42/58).

Judgement

JUDGMENT OF ACOLATSE J.

(His lordship stated the facts and history of the case, and proceeded:-)

Counsel for 2nd defendant submitted before us that no valid notice as required by section 11(1)(e) of the Rent Control Ordinance was given to that defendant by the plaintiffs, for on the date on which the plaintiffs purported to have given the notice the defendant was not a statutory tenant.

In our opinion, the learned trial-Judge has given a true interpretation of section 11(1)(e). After a careful consideration of the question raised by Mr. Akufo-Addo as to the construction and effect of section 11(1)(e) of the Rent Control Ordinance, we are of opinion that the notice contained in the letter (Exhibit ?"A?") was a valid notice to a tenant on his becoming a statutory tenant, taking effect as from the date he held over his tenancy on its determination.

It is clear from the section of the Ordinance that it can only be interpreted as meaning what it says, and that is where the lease has expired, and the tenant becomes a statutory tenant, and the landlord has given six months?' notice to the tenant of his intention to apply for an Order for the recovery of possession of, or ejectment from the premises. In this case the 2nd defendant as a statutory tenant has had, in fact, more that six months?' notice of the plaintiff?'s intention.

In my opinion, the argument involved in this appeal cannot be maintained. I would there dismiss this appeal.

JUDGMENT OF GRANVILLE SHARP J.A.

I agree.

JUDGMENT OF SMITH J.

I agree.

Decision

Appeal dismissed.

Plaintiff / Appellant

Bentsi-Enchill

Defendant / Respondent

Akufo-Addo for 2nd defendant and Casely-Hayford for 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th defendants

Referals

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