Clarity from the Court on ‘occupation rent’ in Trust disputes

I am increasingly seeing disputes in relation to the beneficial ownership of property. The law in this area is complex, and in my experience, often interpreted differently – which can make cases difficult to settle and risky to litigate. 

Bailey v Dixon [2021] below, provides some clarification on when occupation rent should be paid by the person occupying the property. There was previously suggestion that the co-owner had to be ‘excluded’ from the property, and at first instance the bar for exclusion was set very high in this case – akin to changing the locks, a physical exclusion.

This was overturned, an appeal allowed. There is no such requirement. In this case, there had been a breakdown of the relationship between the parties and the respondent left the property. This was sufficient, there is no ouster or physical exclusion requirement. 

Do you have to be ousted to succeed in a claim for occupation rent? Bailey v Dixon [2021] EWHC 2971 (QB)

This appeal concerned whether or not occupation rent was payable to the joint owner of a property who had left that property following the breakdown of her relationship with the other joint owner. In short, Saini J concluded that it could be. The Court below had erred in law by refusing her claim for occupation rent on the basis that she had not been barred from exercising her legal right to occupy. Contrary to the decision of the first instance Judge, the statute and relevant authorities did not establish that an ouster of occupation was a condition precedent for such a claim.