Land/property Law: Brian Belvon

Brian Belvon (BB) owned Belvon Estate. It comprises a large mansion (the Mansion), a small cottage (the Cottage), and the surrounding garden ground.

In 2016, title to Belvon Estate was transferred to Samuel Swift (SS) by a deed in his favour. SS was duly registered as the proprietor of Belvon Estate. In March 2017, SS advertised to sell the property. In April 2017, Paul Paton (PP) visited the property a few times before concluding a contract to purchase it from SS. The sale was completed on 3rd May 2017. PP paid the price of £900,000 to SS, received the deed of conveyance from SS, and moved in to the Mansion on that day. PP was duly registered as the proprietor on 10th May 2017. SS was seen boarding a flight to Aruba around that time, unlikely to return to the UK again.

Tina Thomson (TT) had been living in the Cottage since 2012. She was on extended holiday in the Caribbean from March to May in 2017. When PP visited Acacia Garden, SS said that the Cottage was only used when his niece visited him during her summer break from university. PP and his instructed surveyor were let into the Cottage. They discovered some photographs and other personal belongings of TT, which SS claimed to have been left by his niece from an earlier visit. However, what SS did not reveal to PP was the fact that TT had a lease granted by BB in 2012 for ten years. In addition, TT was also granted the option to purchase Acacia Garden for £600,000 (then market value of the property in 2012 after the financial crisis) within ten years. TT has now returned from her holiday. She wants to go back to live in the Cottage as a tenant, and may even consider exercising the option to purchase.

On 15 May 2017, Eric Entwa (EE), a farmer from neighbouring land, arrived at Acacia Garden driving a tractor. He claimed to have a right of way over Acacia Garden. BB granted this by deed in 2008. EE explained that it was necessary because part of his farm was difficult for tractors to access otherwise, although he only needed access to that part very sparingly. He last used this right in 2015 when BB allowed him to drive the tractor over the ground to get to the other side. PP furiously refused it. EE is now threatening legal action.

Just when PP thought matters could not get any worse, on 1 June 2017 he was visited by BB. BB claimed that he had never sold Belvon Estate. It turned out that SS apparently forged the deed of conveyance from BB to himself in 2016. BB had been posted abroad “at a classified location” by his employer for more than a year by then and could not return due to the nature of his work. SS, a “friend” of BB, must have noticed this and decided to take advantage of his prolonged absence. BB has just finished his work and returned to this country. He wants Belvon Estate back.

Advise PP, as to whether TT, EE and BB will be successful in enforcing their claims against him. Your answer should refer to formal sources of law where appropriate.

Please focus on:
The meaning of the words in statute
Law property act
Land charges Act.
Do not just cite the cases, discuss about the meaning and impact of each decisions
Do not exceed word limit
Whether each of the following interests is legal or equitable.
The division between common law and equity

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