Hughes v Metropolitan Railway Co – Case Summary

Hughes v Metropolitan Railway Co

House of Lords

Citations: (1877) 2 App Cas 439.


A lessor gave a repair notice against his lessee on the 22nd of October. It was due to expire on the 22nd of April the next year. The lessor wrote back suggesting that they would like to buy the property. The parties then began negotiations, which ended in December without any sale. The lessor sought to evict the lessee on the 22nd of April, as they had failed to enact the repairs. The lessee argued that they should have equitable relief against the eviction.

  1. Was the lessee entitled to equitable relief against the eviction?

The Court held in favour of the lessee. The negotiations suspended the repair notice for their duration. The lessor had therefore tried to evict the lessee before the notice expired, which equity would protect against.

This Case is Authority For…

Where the lessor gives a repair notice and the lessee offers to sell his interest in the property, any subsequent negotiation suspends the notice until the negotiation ends. By negotiating, the lessor waives his right to rely on the notice as having current effect. The time period in the notice will then run from the end of the negotiations, and the lessee cannot be ejected before then.