By Gilbe Kodilinye, Gilbert Kodilinye
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Extra resources for Commonwealth Caribbean Property Law
2 In modern land law, equitable interests fall into three categories: (a) Estates and interests taking effect behind trusts, that is, where the legal title to the property is vested in trustees, holding upon trust for the beneficiaries, who have equitable interests in the property. For example, where Blackacre is held by trustees ‘upon trust for X for life, remainder to Y and Z’, X has an equitable life interest, and Y and Z have concurrent equitable interests in the fee simple. Equitable interests under trusts are usually encountered in family settlements.
The nature of this tenure, signified by the words ‘landlord’ and ‘tenant’, is that the tenant pays ‘rent service’ (now known simply as ‘rent’) to the landlord in return for his right to occupy the land, and the landlord retains a right to levy distress against the tenant’s goods in the event of non-payment of rent and, more importantly, in some circumstances, a right to forfeit the lease if the tenant is in breach of his obligations. ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF LEASES There are two requirements for a right to occupy land to be capable of taking effect as a lease: (a) the right to exclusive possession must be given; (b) the duration of the lease must be certain.
14 Creation of Leases (c) Trinidad and Tobago, Ch 27, No 16, s 3: leases for more than three years must be made by deed;32 leases for three years33 or less may be made by deed or in writing; periodic tenancies and tenancies at will may be oral. 36 Such an informal lease is known as an ‘equitable lease’. 37 In this case, L agreed in writing to grant to T the lease of a mill for seven years. It was agreed that a deed should be executed containing, inter alia, a term that, on demand, T would pay one year’s rent in advance.