Walsh v Lonsdale [1882] Ch D 9

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  • Mr Lonsdale agrees to lease Mr Walsh a property for a period seven years.
  • The payment schedule was unique, based on how much work was done, but there was a minimum amount.
  • The lease was never officially granted, but Mr Walsh moved in anyway.
  • Mr Lonsdale demanded the money needed for rent, but Mr Walsh said he didn’t have to because there was no real agreement.


  • Since the Judicature Acts merged the courts of common law and equity, there is only one Court, so if you have a lease in equity, you have a lease.
  • Mr Walsh would be protected by this if, say, Mr Lonsdale tried to kick him out, but he can’t then complain about it when it means he has to adhere to it to.


There is only one court, and the equity rules prevail in it. The tenant holds under an agreement for a lease. He holds, therefore, under the same terms in equity as if a lease had been granted, it being a case in which both parties admit that relief is capable of being given by specific performance. That being so, he cannot complain of the exercise by the landlord of the same rights as the landlord would have had if a lease had been granted. On the other hand, he is protected in the same way as if a lease had been granted; he cannot be turned out by six months’ notice as a tenant from year to year.”

(Lord Jessel MR at pages 14-15)


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