A combine harvests a cereal crop

Vacant Possession of Agricultural and Equestrian Property

A recent case has commented on what amounts to vacant possession in property transactions.

Lord Justice Rimer delivered a leading opinion of the Court of Appeal in NYK Logistics (UK) Ltd v. Ibrend Estates BV [2011] EXCA Civ 683:

“The concept of ‘vacant possession’ in the present context is not, I consider, complicated.  It means what it does in every domestic and commercial sale in which there is an obligation to give ‘vacant possession’ on completion.  It means that at the moment that ‘vacant possession’ is required to be given, the property is empty of people and that the purchaser is able to assume and enjoy immediate and exclusive possession, occupation and control of it.  It must also be empty of chattels, although the obligation in this respect is likely only to be breached if any chattels left in the property substantially prevent or interfere with the enjoyment of the right of possession of a substantial part of the property.”

The opinion will be less helpful to buyers who find the seller has left items, equipment, machinery at the property they have purchased.  It is important therefore to contractually agree for the seller to completely clear the property of all items and rubbish at completion of a purchase.