Small Tenements Act

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Small Tenements Act
CHAPTER 8.10
SMALL TENEMENTS ACT
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION
1. Short title
2. Interpretation
3. Tenant holding over
4. Notice by landlord to tenant holding over
5. Person holding over and neglecting to give possession may be summoned
6. Magistrate to hear and determine the matter
7. Magistrate to issue warrant of possession
8. Outgoing tenant may claim for unexhausted improvements
9. Landlord may claim for mesne profits
10. Limit of Magistrate’s jurisdiction in claims for improvements, arrears, or mesne profits
11. Warrant of possession may issue at any time
12. Magistrate may appoint person to value improvements
13. Report of valuers to be evidence
14. Officer executing warrant of possession to give possession to landlord
15. Penalty for resisting or assaulting officer
16. Penalty on person unlawfully retaking possession
17. Appeal from order of possession
18. Service of documents
19. Jurisdiction of Magistrate not ousted where question of title arises
20. No claim for improvements made without sanction of landlord
21. Essentials of notice to quit
22. Length of notice to quit in certain cases
23. Notice to quit may be given at any time
24. Ejectment in case of trespassers
25. Procedure
26. Forms
27. Fees SCHEDULE: Forms


CHAPTER 8.10
SMALL TENEMENTS ACT
(Acts 13 of 1891, 20 of 1954, S.R.O. 15/1956,
Acts 8 of 1966, 3 of 1968 and 9 of 2011)
Commencement
[1 March 1892]
Short title
1. This Act may be cited as the Small Tenements Act.
Interpretation
2. In this Act—
“land” includes houses, chattel or moveable houses, buildings and all other corporeal hereditaments, but does not include a small holding within the meaning of the Agricultural Small Holdings Act;
“landlord” includes the attorney or agent of any landlord and also any person appointed to act on behalf of the Crown in dealing with any lands, buildings or corporeal or incorporeal hereditaments vested in the Crown;
“rent” includes any part of any crop rendered or any equivalent given in kind or in labour in consideration of which a landlord has permitted any person to use and occupy any land, house or other corporeal hereditament.
Tenant holding over
3. When and as soon as the term or interest of the tenant of any land held by him at will or for any term not exceeding seven years either without being liable to the payment of any rent or at a rent not exceeding the rate of $300 per annum shall have ended or shall have been duly determined by a notice to quit as hereinafter prescribed or otherwise and such tenant or (if such tenant does not actually occupy the premises or only occupies a part thereof) any person by whom the same or any part thereof is then actually occupied neglects or refuses to quit and deliver up possession of the premises or any part thereof respectively such tenant or person shall be deemed to be a person holding over.
(Amended by Act 3 of 1968)
Notice by landlord to tenant holding over
4. Where a person is holding over whose tenancy has ended or been determined otherwise than by a notice to quit, the landlord may cause a

notice in writing to be served upon such person as aforesaid calling upon him to quit and deliver up possession of the premises held over by him within seven days of the service of such notice as aforesaid.
Person holding over and neglecting to give possession may be
summoned
5. Upon the expiration of the time limited in any notice to quit as in the two last preceding sections mentioned if the person holding over neglects or refuses to quit and deliver up possession of the premises mentioned in such notice to quit as aforesaid it shall be lawful for a Magistrate on the application of the landlord, to issue a summons in the form set forth in the Schedule calling on the person holding over to appear on the day fixed in the summons and show cause why possession should not be given to the landlord under the provisions of this Act.
Magistrate to hear and determine the matter
6. (1) On the day of appearance as in the last preceding section mentioned if the person holding over appears, or if he does not appear, then on proof of the due service of the summons the landlord shall give evidence of the end or other determination of the tenancy with the time and manner thereof and of the holding over, and (where the title of the landlord has accrued since the letting of the premises) of the right by which he claims possession, and of the service of the notice to quit, and it shall be lawful for the Magistrate to determine the matter and, subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, to give such judgment and make such orders therein under the provisions of this Act as to him shall seem fit.
(2) Where the land to which the tenancy relates is subject to the provisions of any Act restricting the rents payable therefor and the recovery of the possession thereof, no judgment or order shall be given or made under subsection (1) unless the Magistrate is satisfied that power has been conferred on him so to do under the provisions of any such law.
(3) Where a chattel or moveable house for a value not exceeding $100 which is not the property of the landlord, (hereinafter in this section referred to as “the premises”) has been placed by a tenant or his predecessor in title on the land in respect of which possession is sought by the landlord and such premises is used by the tenant as his dwelling, no judgment or order shall be given or made under subsection (1) unless the Magistrate is satisfied that—
(a) it is reasonable to give such judgment or make such order having regard to all the circumstances of the case; and
(b) suitable alternative accommodation is available for the tenant or will be available for him when the judgment or order takes effect.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3)—

(a) suitable alternative accommodation means accommodation which is reasonably suitable to the needs of the tenant as regards rental and to the needs of the tenant and his family as regards proximity to place of work, as well as character and extent in relation to its use as a dwelling for the tenant; and
(b) the onus of proof that a chattel or moveable house is of a value which does not exceed $100 shall be on the landlord.
(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (3) or (4) a judgment or order under subsection (1) may be given or made by the Magistrate, where he considers it reasonable so to do, without proof of suitable alternative accommodation where—
(a) the tenant has, within twelve months of the filing of the summons, been convicted of praedial larceny or of larceny of cattle or of having in his possession or under his control praedial produce which is reasonably suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained; or
(b) the tenant has been convicted of using or allowing the premises or any part thereof to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose; or
(c) the tenant has committed acts of waste or been guilty of neglect or default whereby the premises have been injuriously affected; or
(d) the tenant or any person residing or lodging with him or being his subtenant has been guilty of conduct which is a nuisance or annoyance to adjoining or adjacent occupiers of such premises.
(Amended by Act 3 of 1968)
Magistrate to issue warrant of possession
7. If the Magistrate gives judgment for the recovery by the landlord of the possession of the land, he may forthwith issue a warrant of possession set forth in the Schedule.
Outgoing tenant may claim for unexhausted improvements
8. Where by the custom of the country or otherwise the outgoing tenant is entitled to any compensation or allowance in respect of any unexhausted improvements which he has made on the subject matter of the tenancy, he may at any time make any claim or cross claim before a Magistrate against the landlord in respect thereof; and the Magistrate may, if he thinks it expedient, hear and determine any cross claim together with any claim to recover possession of the subject matter in respect of which the cross claim is made:

Provided that, in the case of a cross claim, notice in writing of the particulars of such cross claim shall be given to the landlord three clear days before the day fixed for the hearing of the claim to recover possession:
Provided also, that the Magistrate at the hearing shall have power to enlarge the time for the delivery of such notice as aforesaid, or for the hearing of the cross claim.
Landlord may claim for mesne profits
9. The landlord may either together with his claim to recover possession of any premises, or in answer to any claim or cross claim made in respect of any unexhausted improvements as aforesaid claim to recover or to set off all arrears of rent and also mesne profits accruing in respect of such premises since the ending or determination of the tenancy.
Limit of Magistrate’s jurisdiction in claims for improvements, arrears,
or mesne profits
10. No claim by the landlord against the tenant to recover or to set off any arrears of rent and mesne profits under section 9, and no claim or cross claim by the tenant against the landlord for unexhausted improvements under section 8, shall be entertained where such claim or cross claim exceeds the sum of $720.
(Amended by Act 3 of 1968)
Warrant of possession may issue at any time
11. Where a landlord is entitled to possession of any premises, the Magistrate may issue his warrant of possession notwithstanding that the cross claim is undetermined or unsatisfied.
Magistrate may appoint person to value improvements
12. It shall be lawful for a Magistrate from time to time and at any time to appoint one or more persons to estimate the value of any unexhausted improvements in respect of which a claim or cross claim is made and to report in writing to the Magistrate thereon; and also to make such order as he thinks fit in respect of the expenses and remuneration of such persons.
Report of valuers to be evidence
13. Such report in writing purporting to be signed by the person or persons appointed by the Magistrate in that behalf shall be received in evidence in all Courts until it be shown that such report was not so signed as aforesaid.
Officer executing warrant of possession to give possession to landlord
14. The officer to whom the warrant of possession is directed shall with all convenient speed enter (by force if necessary) into the premises described in the warrant and give possession of the same to the landlord

and may if necessary by force demolish or remove or demolish and remove any building on such premises.
Penalty for resisting or assaulting officer
15. Any person who resists or molests or assaults such officer as aforesaid when engaged in the execution of such warrant as aforesaid or any estimator engaged in carrying out an order of a Magistrate’s Court shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall be liable on summary conviction to be imprisoned for any period of six months or to pay a fine of $96.
Penalty on person unlawfully retaking possession
16. Any person who has been put out of possession under a warrant of possession and unlawfully retakes possession of the premises after possession has been given to the landlord shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall be liable on summary conviction to be imprisoned for any period of six months or to pay a fine of $96.
Appeal from order of possession
17. Either party to any proceedings to recover possession of any premises under this Act may appeal from the decision of the Magistrate whatever may be the value of the subject matter in dispute.
Service of documents
18. Service of any notice to quit or any summons or other process may be effected either personally on the person affected by the same or by leaving the same with some adult person at his last or most usual place of abode, or if the person to be served cannot be found, and the place of his abode either is not known or admission thereto cannot be obtained then by posting the same on some conspicuous place on the subject matter of the claim.
Jurisdiction of Magistrate not ousted where question of title arises
19. Except as hereinafter provided the jurisdiction of the Magistrate shall not be ousted by the defendant bona fide setting up the title of a third person, unless he holds under or claims through such third person.
No claim for improvements made without sanction of landlord
20. No person shall be entitled to make any claim for any unexhausted improvements unless such improvements have in all material particulars been made with the consent of the landlord.
Essentials of notice to quit
21. Every notice to quit served under the provisions of this Act shall be in writing and signed by the landlord or his agent or solicitor. It shall

describe clearly the premises which are sought to be recovered and the proper day on which possession is to be given and shall not be ambiguous or optional.
Length of notice to quit in certain cases
22. Where there is no agreement as to notice by deed or in writing between the parties the following provisions shall take effect—
(a) in the case of a monthly tenancy, or a tenancy, for any shorter term than one month, a clear week’s notice shall be given;
(b) in the case of a quarterly tenancy or a tenancy for any term shorter than three months and longer than one month a clear month’s notice shall be given;
(c) in the case of a half-yearly tenancy or a tenancy for any term shorter than six months and longer than three months a clear two months’ notice shall be given;
(d) in the case of a yearly tenancy or any term shorter than one year and longer than a half year a clear three months’ notice shall be given;
(e) in the case of any term longer than one year and not longer than seven years a clear six months’ notice shall be given;
(f) in the case of any person being lawfully let into possession of any land by any other person without any period of tenancy whether limited or continuing being agreed upon either expressly or impliedly, a clear three months’ notice shall be given;
(g) in the absence of any evidence to the contrary the time when the rent is paid or rendered shall be deemed to determine the nature of the tenancy as to whether it be monthly, quarterly or otherwise.
Notice to quit may be given at any time
23. It shall not be necessary that a notice to quit under the last preceding section should expire at the end of the current term of the tenancy but it may be given at any time: Provided that, it does not expire before the time when any crop growing on the subject-matter of the tenancy would in the ordinary course be taken gathered or reaped.
Ejectment in case of trespassers
24. Where any person unlawfully obtains possession of and remains in occupation of any lands the value of which does not exceed $300 the person lawfully entitled to the immediate possession of the same may recover possession thereof under the provisions of this Act as though he were a landlord and as though the person unlawfully occupying the premises were a person holding over:

Provided that, in such a case it shall not be necessary for the person seeking to recover possession of the premises to serve or prove the service of any notice to quit and such person shall only be required to prove that he is entitled to the immediate possession of the premises.
(Amended by Act 3 of 1968)
Procedure
25. Proceedings under this Act shall be taken and had in the manner and form prescribed by the under-mentioned Acts, that is to say—
(a) as regards criminal proceedings, by the Criminal Procedure Code; and
(b) as regards civil proceedings, by the Magistrate’s Court Act. (Substituted by Act 3 of 1968)
Forms
26. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 25 (1)(b), the forms set forth in the Schedule hereto shall be used in proceedings under this Act and shall be valid and effectual therein.
(2) The Governor acting on the advice of Cabinet may by order add to, amend and cancel the forms set forth in the Schedule.
(Substituted by Act 3 of 1968 and amended by Act 9 of 2011)
Fees
27. The fees to be taken in proceedings under this Act shall in relation to civil proceedings be those prescribed in the Magistrate’s Court Act and in relation to criminal proceedings those prescribed in the Criminal Procedure Code.
(Substituted by Act 3 of 1968)
___________


SCHEDULE
FORMS
(Section 26)
(Amended by Act 8 of 1966)

FORM OF NOTICE TO QUIT UNDER SECTION 3
To C.D.
Sir,
I hereby (as Agent or Solicitor for X.Y. your landlord and on his behalf) give
you notice to quit and deliver up possession of the land (or house as the case may be)
and premises with the appurtenances situate at ....................…………...................... in
the parish of ............................................... in Montserrat, which you hold of him (or
which E.F. holds of him) as tenant thereof (by a lease or agreement in writing bearing
date the ......................... day of .........................................., 20............. ) and which are
now in your possession on the .......................... day of .................................., 20......... .
Your etc.
A.B. (Agent or Solicitor of the above-named X.Y.)
Dated the .......................... day of ......................................., 20......... .
__________


FORM OF NOTICE TO QUIT UNDER SECTION 4
To C.D.
Sir,
I hereby (as Agent or Solicitor for X.Y. and on his behalf) give you notice to
quit and deliver up possession of the land (or house as the case may be) and premises
with the appurtenances situate at ..........…………………………........... in the parish
of ......…………….................... in Montserrat, and now in your possession within
seven days from the day on which this notice is served upon you.
Yours etc.
A.B. (Agent or Solicitor for the above-named X.Y.)
Dated the ...................... day of ....................................., 20............ .
__________


FORM OF SUMMONS UNDER SECTION 5
In the Magistrate’s Court (Civil Side)
No. ........................ of 20…….
 
 

and
Between A.B. of
Plaintiff
C.D. of
Defendant
To C.D. of
You are hereby summoned to appear at the Magistrate’s Court, ....……...............
at ...............……………………..... in Montserrat, at .............................. o’clock in the
forenoon and to show cause why an order should not be made against you according
to the prayer of the plaintiff as set forth in the particulars of claim annexed hereto.
And take notice that if you fail to attend at the time and place aforesaid or at any
adjourned hearing of this suit, the Court may give leave to the plaintiff to proceed ex
parte to judgment and execution and may order that possession of the said premises be
given by you to the plaintiff forthwith, and that if such order be not obeyed a warrant
may issue to give possession to the plaintiff.
Signed

Given under my hand
this ........ day of ......…....., 20.........
  
MAGISTRATE
__________


PARTICULARS OF CLAIM
The plaintiff claims—
(1) To recover possession of (describe the premises),
(2) and $ ................. for arrears of rent,
(3) and $ ................. for mesne profits.
__________




ENDORSEMENT ON WRIT
The within writ was served on the within named defendant at ..………...............
by delivering a true copy thereof (or describe other mode of service) on the.................
day of ..............................., 20.......... .
G.H.
BAILIFF.
__________


ORDER FOR RECOVERY OF LAND UNDER SECTION 6
In the Magistrate’s Court (Civil Side)
 
 


Between A.B. of
Plaintiff
and
C.D. of
Defendant
Upon the hearing of this cause a Court holden this day doth order that the
defendant do give to the plaintiff possession of a certain piece of land (or as the case
may be) situate at ........................................... in the parish of .....................................
in Montserrat, forthwith (or on the .......................... day of ........................, 20......... )
and doth adjudge that the plaintiff do recover against the defendant the sum of
$ ........................................ for rent (or, for mesne profits, or, for rent and mesne
profits) and costs.
Signed

Given under my hand
this ........ day of ......…....., 20.........
  
MAGISTRATE
__________


TO THE DEFENDANT
Take notice that if you do not give such possession a warrant may issue
requiring the bailiff of the Court to give possession of the said premises to the
plaintiff and to levy the sum above mentioned together with further costs.
__________


FORM OF WARRANT OF POSSESSION UNDER SECTION 7
In the Magistrate’s Court (Civil Side)
 
 


Between A.B. of
................................................ Plaintiff
and
C.D. of ..........................…............................... Defendant
To the Bailiff of the Magistrate’s Court ................................………....
Whereas at a Court holden on the .................. day of .......................................,
20........ , it was ordered that the defendant should give to the plaintiff possession of a
certain (as in summons) situate at ........................ in the Parish of .................................
in Montserrat.
And whereas the defendant has not obeyed the said order: These are therefore to
authorize and require you forthwith between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to enter
(by force if needful) the said hereinbefore mentioned premises and to eject therefrom
any person and of the said premises to give full and peaceable possession to the
plaintiff.
Signed

Given under my hand
this ........ day of ......…....., 20.........
  
MAGISTRATE
__________


FORM OF APPOINTMENT OF ESTIMATORS
UNDER SECTION 12
In the Magistrate’s Court (Civil Side)

 
 


Between A.B. of
................................................ Plaintiff
and
C.D. of ..........................…............................... Defendant
Upon hearing the plaintiff and the defendant herein it is ordered that
E.F. of .............…………………………....... (or E.F. of
...........……............................ and G.H. of ..........................…………….................
) do enter upon the premises
at .............................................................. in the parish of in Montserrat lately in
the occupation of the plaintiff and do estimate the present value of (here set out
and describe sufficiently for identification the things claimed by the plaintiff as
improvements) and do report to the Court in writing thereon on or before the
.............. day of ......................., 20.......... . And it is further ordered that the
plaintiff (or the defendant or the plaintiff and the defendant or as the case may be)
do pay to the said E.F. and G.H. (here set out the terms of remuneration to be
made to the estimators.)
Signed

Given under my hand
this ........ day of ......…....., 20.........
  
MAGISTRATE
__________




FORM OF REPORTS OF ESTIMATORS
UNDER SECTIONS 12 AND 13
In the Magistrate’s Court (Civil Side)

 
 


Between A.B. of
................................................ Plaintiff
and
C.D. of ..........................…............................... Defendant
We E.F. of ..............……............... and G.H. of ....................................................
the estimators appointed herein under an order dated the ..........………………..... day of
.…..........……………………..., 20........ , having viewed the premises mentioned in the
order aforesaid do appraise and the value the same at the sum of $ ....................... as
hereinafter detailed, viz—
(Here set forth the particulars of the valuation)
As witness our hands
This ............................. day of ........................................, 20.......... .
Signed ............................................... E.F.
G.H.
__________