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Competency Unit 2A - Basic Land Laws

The Laws

  • Common Law for all
  • Equity Law would prevail, with remedies
  • Statute Law
    • Passed by legislation
    • Bill, debate, committee, becomes an Act

Law of Contract

  • 4 essential elements
    • Offer
    • Acceptance
    • Consideration = money worth, service rendered
    • Intention to create legal relations
  • Not illegal
  • Enforceable by law
  • Invitation to treat = inviting offers
  • Consideration
    • S&P: vendor promises to deliver property to purchaser, in consideration of $
    • OTP: vendor promises to keep the offer open, in consideration of option $
    • Can be $1, or labour etc
  • “Subject to contract”
    • No binding contract yet eg. If added to OTP, the binding contract is S&P
    • Negotiation ongoing
    • In the absence, as long as having the 4 elements it is a binding contract
  • Condition
    • Vital term, can repudiate
    • Condition Precedent = condition that suspends the contract until a certain event takes place
    • Condition Subsequent = happening may invalidate a binding contract
  • Warranty
    • Not as vital, can claim damages (but not repudiate)
  • Terms of Contract -> false -> Breach of Contract
  • Mere Representation -> false -> Misrepresentation -> Voidable
    • Must be statement of fact
    • Types:
      • Fraudulent misrepresentation
      • Negligent misrepresentation
      • Innocent misrepresentation
  • Mistakes
    • Common Mistake = same mistake
    • Mutual Mistake = different mistake
    • Unilateral Mistake = one makes mistake, the other is aware
  • Remedies
    • Specific performance = court order requiring a party in breach to perform their obligations
    • Damage and/or rescission
    • Injunction = authoritative warning or order
    • Quantum Meruit = as much as he has deserved
  • Tortious liability = breach of a duty primarily fixed by law
    • Tort = wrongful act
  • Vicarious liability = employer is responsible for employee
    • eg. Bus driver hits pedestrian, victim sue the company (instead of driver)

Law of Agency

Creation of agency:

  1. By Agreement
    • Expressly written or oral
    • Implied eg. open listing
    • Ideally is written agreement
  2. Agency By Estoppel (impression)
    • A legal principle that bars a party (principal) from denying a certain fact owing to that party’s previous conduct and/or actions.
    • Eg. Tenant can have the rights to the agreement as he was led to believe the agent is employed by the landlord
    • Promissory Estoppel = Make a promise + reasonable reliance -> liable to damage
  3. Necessity
  4. Ratification
    • Appointed agent A (non-exclusive), but later use agent B by signing OTP – by ratification B is appointed
    • Legally OK, but morally not OK (a hijack)
    • Created retrospectively

Types of Agency

  • Sole = Only 1
  • Exclusive = Even owner cannot sell
  • Sub-agency
  • uberrimae fidei = Contract Of Utmost Good Faith = must disclose all material facts
  • caveat emptor = buyer beware, seller no need disclose material facts
    • But seller must disclose latent defects eg. encumbrances
  • Actual/Usual authority = by agreement
  • Apparent/Ostensible authority = by estoppel (impression)
  • Termination by: agreement, expire, performance, operation of law
    • Principal can revoke, immediately
    • Agent can renounce, given notice
    • Can be lawful or unlawful
  • Defences against claim of damages
    • Contributory Negligence = own carelessness contributed to the accident
    • Volenti Non Fit Injuria = Volunteer to do, any injury is your own fault

Agent Duty

  • Owe fiduciary duty to principal, duty of care to others
  • Find offers and submit them to owner
    • NO authority to enter into a contract
  • Ought not to have any conflict of interest
    • Disclose, if there is
  • Must disclose all offers
  • If breach, liable to damages, and forfeiture of commission

Landlord & Tenant Law

  • Privity of Contract
    • Only the parties can acquire rights and liabilities
    • a close, direct, or successive relationship
  • Privity of Estate
    • Under the same lease
    • Can enforce tenant’s covenants
  • Min lease duration
    • NO airbnb
    • HDB 6m
    • Private 3m
  • Max number of unrelated tenants/occupiers (including owner)
    • HDB 1/2rm: 4
    • HDB 3rm/bigger: 6
    • Private (regardless of size): 6
  • Creation of lease
    • 3y or less can be oral or written
    • More than 3y written
    • More than 7y must register with Registry of Titles
    • Foreigners cannot sign more than 7y, unless approve by LDAU
  • Types of lease
    • Fixed Term
    • Periodic - after fixed term end, and be monthly
    • Service - based on employment contract
    • Tenancy at Sufferance = lease has expired, a “hold-over”, can charge double rent
  • Waste = change in condition
    • Voluntary - causing destruction
    • Permissive - failure to maintain
    • Ameliorative - improvement
    • Equitable - irreversible intentional destruction
  • Landlord implied powers
    • 2 days notice, may enter house to view state of repair
    • Can enter anytime to check on work permit etc
    • If unpaid (breach covenant) for 30 days, may enter house and terminate
  • Sublet Clause
    • If not, tenant can sublet without consent
    • Similarly, assignment clause to prevent “assign” their tenancy rights to a new tenant
  • Novation = replace tenant
  • Diplomatic Clause
    • 24m lease: 12m + 2m advanced notice (guaranteed)
    • 12m lease: 6m + 1m
  • Remedies:
    • Sue for rent arrears
    • Apply writ of distress
    • Apply writ of possession
  • Right Of First Refusal
    • Eg. Landlord to sell the house, tenant has the rights to buy, or not.
  • Overlap with CU4B