Interesting circumstances surrounded a case at the North Riding Police Court, held at Scarborough Court House this morning, before Mr Francis Baker (in the chair), and the Rev TG Little, when Miss Caroline G Tause, Scalby Road, Scarborough, daughter of the Rev T Tause, late vicar of Cloughton, made application for the ejectment of John Booth from a cottage at Cloughton, let at a rent of £3 a year.
Mr J Costolow was for the applicant, and Mr J Whitfield for the defendant.
Mr J Costolow said his application was on behalf of the owners of Ruskin Cottage, Cloughton Moor. A notice terminating the tenancy was served on the tenant and expired on the 6th April. The respondent in the case had that morning gone to the owners and paid them £1 10s, the half-year’s rent due on the 6th October. That under ordinary circumstances would vitiate these proceedings, as it would confirm a new tenancy. Inspector Robinson proved the service of the notice.
Miss Tause said she was joint owner of the property with her sister. She had received £1 10s that morning from the tenant of the cottage, and had given a receipt, bearing the words, “Received without prejudice”.
Proceeding, Miss Tause said that when Booth offered her the money she asked him to go down and see Mr Costolow, but he refused. She was not learned in matters of law, and she didn’t think it would make any difference if she received the money. She accordingly took the money and gave a receipt. Booth said “You can take it now or you will not get it at all”.
Mr Whitfield: You are quite right; never refuse money.
By Mr Costolow: Booth asked for a receipt, and did not object to anything in it.
Rev JT Tause said he had posted the usual notice to the tenant and he had admitted receiving it. The house was let at £3 a year on a half yearly tenancy. The house was first let to defendant’s uncle, through defendant, who said he would be responsible for the money. Witness was acting then for the Ruskin Trustees.
By Mr Whitfield: He admitted that the house was in a bad state of repair, but not that defendant had put on a new roof, side, or front, and that any building up had been done.
Mr Whitfield: Was it understood at the time that the house was to be let to Booth for life?
Witness: Subject to certain conditions.
Cross-examined, Mr Tause said he did not know that Booth had spent £10 on building up the house, and that the labour done by himself was worth £10. If Booth said he had done all this work he could not admit it.
Mr Whitfield: The conditions were that Booth kept the house in a good state of repair and this he has done. Didn’t you say, “If you live to be 100 years old you will never be turned out”.
Witness: He did not admit that any breach of faith would be committed by turning Booth out, because he had not paid his rent, and that was a condition.
Mr Tause said it cost more to get the rent than was received. He denied that when he bought the property he said to Booth, “You are all right for life. It is in the writings”. It was his own suggestions that the man should live there for life, but it was not part of the bargain.
Mr Whitfield submitted that rent was always paid yearly, and was never later than April, and he did not think it was honourable after an understanding, verbal or otherwise, that his client should remain there for life, that he should now be turned out.
Mr Tause said the conditions with regard to the rent had not been complied with.
Mr Costolow said if there was any breach of faith it was on the part of Booth.
Mr Whitfield said the case was one of considerable importance to Booth, who was a poor man. He had no superabundance of wealth, and had to work for an extremely modest livelihood. The cottage was let 24 years ago at a nominally low rent. Booth kept it in repair on the understanding that he was to remain there for life.
Booth then went into the box and corroborated Mr Whitfield’s statement.
Mr Whitfield said that as the rent had been received the notice to quit was useless as a new tenancy had been started.
The magistrates said the case was one which presented difficulty, but the bench could not get over the fact that by receiving the rent a new tenancy was started, and the application would be dismissed.