Quinn v Redmond

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date16 December 1939
Date16 December 1939
CourtSupreme Court

High Court.

Supreme Court.

Quinn v. Redmond.
CECILIA QUINN
Applicant
and
LETITIA REDMOND, Respondent (1)

Landlord and tenant - Rent Restriction Acts - Standard rent - Two rooms let together after August 3rd, 1914 - One room let on that date - Other room not then let - Determination of the standard rent - Whether letting of one room on August 3rd, 1914, material to determine the standard rent of the sub-sequent combined letting of the two rooms - Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1923 (No. 19 of 1923). s. 1 (a); s. 2, sub-s. 1 (a)and (b); s. 3, sub-ss. 1, 2, 4 and 5.

Appeal from the Circuit Court.

Cecilia Quinn brought an application in the Circuit Court at Dublin for the determination of the standard rent of the front and back drawingrooms in the house, No. 84 Manor Street, Dublin, of which she was the tenant and Letitia Redmond was the landlord. The facts are fully stated in the judgment of the Chief Justice, post, pp. 78, 79.

The Circuit Court Judge (Judge Shannon) found as facts that one of the two rooms was let separately, furnished, on August 3rd, 1914; that the other room was not let on that date; and that the two rooms were first let together with the use of furniture in 1915, and he decided that the standard rent of the two rooms so let together should be determined under s. 2, sub-s. 1 (b) of the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1923 (No. 19 of 1923) (2), upon the basis of the rent paid in respect of the first letting of the two rooms in combination in 1915, making a deduction in respect of the furniture then included in the letting,

and without having regard to the rent for the one room let on August 3rd, 1914.

From this decision the landlord appealed to the High Court.

The Court gave leave to appeal.

Two rooms of a dwellinghouse were first let together in 1915, one of which had been separately let on August 3rd, 1914, but the other was not then let. On an application to determine the standard rent of the two rooms which had been let together in 1927, the Circuit Court Judge decided that the standard rent should be determined under s. 2, sub-s. 1, of the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1923, upon the basis of the rent paid in respect of the first letting of the two rooms together in 1915, and without having regard to the rent of the room separately let on August 3rd, 1914.

Held by the High Court that the decision of the Circuit Court Judge was erroneous; that the room that had been let on August 3rd, 1914, constituted a separate dwellinghouse for the purposes of the Act, and in fixing the rent of that room it was necessary to go back to the rent in 1914; that the rent of the other room should be fixed under s. 2., sub-s. 1 (b) of the Act, and accordingly that the cage must be remitted to the Circuit Court Judge to six the standard rent of the two rooms in accordance with this view.

On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the High Court but varied the order made.

Maguire P. :—

I am of opinion that the decision of the Circuit Court Judge in this case is erroneous and should be reversed.

This case falls within the decision in the case of Loganv. Donohoe(1) recently decided by Hanna J. and O'Byrne J. which is as yet unreported. The same reasoning applies here and it is unnecessary to elaborate the reasons there given, in this case. The Circuit Court Judge fixed the rent on the basis of a letting of two rooms. One of these rooms was let in 1914. In my opinion, although subsequently a combined letting of this room and another is made, the room so originally let preserves its identity as a separate dwellinghouse within the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Acts, and in fixing the rent of that room it is necessary to go back to the rent in 1914. The rent of the other room should be fixed under s. 2, sub-s. 1 (b), of the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act of 1923.

The case will be referred back to the Circuit Court Judge to fix the standard rent of the rooms. A declaration as to our view on the position of the room let in 1914 will be incorporated in the order.

O'Byrne J. :—

I agree.

The declaration for incorporation in the order should be that the front room constitutes a separate dwellinghouse for the purposes of the Acts.

Cur. adv. vult.

Sullivan C.J.:

This is an appeal from all order of the High Court—the President of the High Court and Mr. Justice O'Byrne— dated the 6th April, 1938, made on the hearing of an appeal from an order of the Dublin Circuit Court, dated the 25th November, 1936, fixing the standard rent of certain rooms in the house, No. 84 Manor Street, Dublin, held by the appellant as tenant to the respondent.

The rooms in question consist of the front and back drawingrooms, which in the year 1927 were let unfurnished to the appellant at a rent of fifteen shillings a week. The evidence established that in August, 1914, the front room was let furnished to a tenant named Rednap and the back

room was not let but was occupied by lodgers. In the following year—1915—the two rooms were, for the first time, let together, they were let as furnished rooms to a Mrs. Corrigan at a rent of 7s. 6d. a week. The Circuit Judge held that the two rooms together constituted a dwellinghouse to which the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1923, applied; that in fixing the standard rent of that dwellinghouse he must disregard as irrelevant the fact that the front room had been let to Rednap as a separate dwelling in August, 1914, and that he should have regard only to the letting of both rooms to Mrs. Corrigan in 1915; and accordingly he fixed the standard rent at seven shillings a week, being the rent of 7s. 6d. paid by Mrs. Corrigan less 6d. the estimated letting value of the furniture when the letting to her was made.

On appeal to the High Court the order of the Circuit Court was discharged. In the course of his judgment, in which O'Byrne J. concurred, the President of the High Court said:—"The Circuit Court Judge fixed the rent on the basis of a letting of two rooms. One of these rooms was let in 1914. In my opinion, although subsequently a combined letting of this room and another is made, the room so originally let preserves its identity as a separate dwellinghouse within the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Acts, and in fixing the rent of that room it is necessary to go back to the rent in 1914. The rent of the other room should be fixed under s. 2, sub-s. 1 (b)of the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1923. The case will be referred back to the Circuit Court Judge to fix the standard rent of the rooms. A declaration as to our view on the position of the room let in 1914 will be incorporated in the order."

The order made allowed the appeal and discharged the order of the Circuit Court and declared as follows:—"The Court doth declare that the front room of the premises situate at No. 84 Manor Street, Dublin, constitutes a separate dwellinghouse for the purpose of the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Acts and doth accordingly refer the case to the said Circuit Court Judge to find the rent of the back drawingroom of the said premises in 1914 and on that basis to fix the standard rent of both rooms."

The finding of the Circuit Court Judge that the two rooms held by the appellant together constitute a dwellinghouse to which the Act to 1923 applies is not disputed, the only matter in dispute being the method of ascertaining the standard rent of that dwellinghouse.

Sect. 1 (a) defines standard rent as meaning "the rent determined in manner hereinafter provided, which in the year ending the 3rd day of August, 1914, the immediate landlord of an occupying tenant of the dwellinghouse might reasonably have expected under any given contract of tenancy not being for more than a term of five years."

The "manner hereinafter provided" is prescribed in s. 2 as follows:—

"2 (1). The standard rent shall be determined in the following manner:—

(a) If the dwellinghouse was on the 3rd day of August, 1914, let to an occupying tenant under a contract of tenancy not being for more than a term of five years, then the rent at which the dwellinghouse was so let, or, where the dwellinghouse was not so let on that date, the rent at which it was last, within a period of three years, so let before that date, shall, subject to the deduction specified in the next succeeding sub-section, be the standard rent.

(b) In any case not coming within the provisions of the last preceding paragraph, the standard rent shall be determined by the Court on the application in the prescribed manner of the landlord or the tenant: provided that, pending any such application to the Court, the rent at which the...

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