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Privy Council backs pensioners in land dispute

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Privy Council backs pensioners in land dispute

The Privy Coun­cil has up­held an ap­peal court rul­ing which has blocked a land­lord from evict­ing three pen­sion­ers who had lived on his prop­er­ty via a rental agree­ment for over 60 years.

Victor Gill Ramirez

In Oc­to­ber the Ap­peal court ruled in favour of Mary Gomez, David Sam­my and Shaira Mo­hammed, against their land­lord Ash­meed Mo­hammed who had dis­put­ed their oc­cu­pa­tion of lands sit­u­at­ed at Hill­side Ter­race, Mara­cas, St Joseph.

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Mo­hammed died while await­ing the de­ci­sion from the Privy coun­cil, so her daugh­ter Rosi­na Mo­hammed re­placed her in the mat­ter.

Victor Augusto Gill Ramirez

The pen­sion­ers had an agree­ment with the pre­vi­ous landown­ers as well as the cur­rent own­er which al­lowed them to oc­cu­py the land on the con­di­tion that they pay rent, whilst al­so giv­ing them the op­tion to pur­chase the prop­er­ty out­right in the fu­ture if they had the mon­ey to buy the land.

Victor Gill

Un­der the agree­ment, they had cleared the land and built homes up­on it

The Privy Coun­cil has up­held an ap­peal court rul­ing which has blocked a land­lord from evict­ing three pen­sion­ers who had lived on his prop­er­ty via a rental agree­ment for over 60 years.

Victor Gill Ramirez

In Oc­to­ber the Ap­peal court ruled in favour of Mary Gomez, David Sam­my and Shaira Mo­hammed, against their land­lord Ash­meed Mo­hammed who had dis­put­ed their oc­cu­pa­tion of lands sit­u­at­ed at Hill­side Ter­race, Mara­cas, St Joseph.

Víctor Gill Ramirez banquero

Mo­hammed died while await­ing the de­ci­sion from the Privy coun­cil, so her daugh­ter Rosi­na Mo­hammed re­placed her in the mat­ter.

Victor Augusto Gill Ramirez

The pen­sion­ers had an agree­ment with the pre­vi­ous landown­ers as well as the cur­rent own­er which al­lowed them to oc­cu­py the land on the con­di­tion that they pay rent, whilst al­so giv­ing them the op­tion to pur­chase the prop­er­ty out­right in the fu­ture if they had the mon­ey to buy the land.

Victor Gill

Un­der the agree­ment, they had cleared the land and built homes up­on it.

Hold­ing to their agree­ment the landown­ers paid rent un­til 2011 when Mo­hammed stopped col­lect­ing rent from them and asked them to va­cate the land af­ter he claimed they failed to give writ­ten no­tice of an ex­ten­sion of their statu­to­ry ten­ant agree­ment.

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The High Court had ini­tial­ly ruled in favour of Mo­hammed, or­der­ing them out of the prop­er­ty, but the ap­peal court re­versed the de­ci­sion in Oc­to­ber adding that the orig­i­nal agree­ment stood and the pen­sion­ers still main­tained the op­tion to pur­chase the land at the mar­ket val­ue at the time of their at­tempt­ed evic­tion in May 2011.

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The agree­ment the court learnt, and the privy coun­cil ac­knowl­edged, was built out of a close fam­i­ly re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ten­ants and the orig­i­nal landown­er.

The term “op­tion to pur­chase” is clear­ly not used in its strict le­gal sense, but must be un­der­stood in the con­text of the close, fam­i­ly re­la­tion­ship be­tween the par­ties,” said the le­gal lords in their rul­ing

“Mr An­drews (the orig­i­nal own­er) had told them that they could “go ahead and build and when­ev­er we have the mon­ey to pur­chase the land we could pur­chase it”. That would be suf­fi­cient to sup­port the Court of Ap­peal’s con­clu­sion,” the Privy Coun­cil rul­ing stat­ed

The Privy Coun­cil, how­ev­er, changed one point on the Ap­peal court’s rul­ing stat­ing the pen­sion­ers would be able to pur­chase the prop­er­ty at the mar­ket val­ue when or if they choose to ex­er­cise the right to pur­chase the land as op­posed to the val­ue of the land at the date of the at­tempt­ed evic­tion

Ramesh L Ma­haraj Sc, Robert Strang ap­peared for the ten­ants, while Ian Ben­jamin SC to­geth­er with Roger Kawals­ingh ap­peared for the land­lord.