Who is in control? Licensee of property guardianship company had sufficient control to bring possession proceedings against overstaying guardian


The case of Global 100 Ltd v Kyselakova and others [2021] has been highlighted in the Estates Gazette and is worth noting because it concerns the legal standing of a sub-licensee company of a property guardianship company to bring a possession claim against an individual occupying guardian.

NHS Property Services Ltd had entered into a property guardianship agreement with Global Guardians Management Limited to install individuals as guardians at Stamford Brook Centre, Hammersmith, London.  Global Guardians Management Limited in turn entered into an inter-company agreement with Global 100 Ltd under which the latter had licence to grant temporary licences to individuals to occupy as guardians.

Maria Laleva had a temporary licence agreement with Global 100 Ltd in respect of her occupation of the premises but on 30 August 2021, Global 100 Ltd sent Maria Laleva notice to quit the premises.  When Maria Laleva failed to do so, Global 100 Ltd commenced possession proceedings.

The district judge made an order for possession but Maria Laleva appealed and that appeal was partly allowed so that case management directions can be given to list the matter for trial as a defended claim.

Part of Maria Laleva's appeal was dismissed and this was her argument that Global 100 Ltd did not have legal standing to bring a claim for possession on the basis that they were not the owner nor the beneficiary under the guardianship agreement.  However, Judge Luba QC in the Central London County Court noted on appeal that under the inter-company agreement, Global 100 Ltd had licence to install and remove occupying guardians from the premises and was also granted sufficient interest to bring claims for possession.  Judge Luba QC found that a sub-licensee as Global 100 Ltd was, can have sufficient control of the land to claim possession through contract or proper implication.

Maria Laleva's other contention that her temporary licence agreement was a sham and in fact an assured shorthold tenancy agreement was held to raise substantial grounds for defending the claim for possession so that she should have been given the opportunity to argue the same.  This was the part of Maria Laleva's appeal which was upheld and the case should now be allocated to track and made subject to case management directions.

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if a sub-licensee enjoyed either by contract or by proper implication sufficient “control” of the land, the sub-licensee would have sufficient standing to bring a claim for possession against a trespasser
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