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ProtaxCooperativeSocietyLtdvTohTengSengandAnother

[2001]SGHC84
CaseNumber : Suit640/2000

DecisionDate : 30April2001

Tribunal/Court : HighCourt

Coram : ChanSengOnnJC

CounselName(s) : AndrewEe(AndrewEe&Co)fortheplaintiffsHarbajanSingh(DaisyYeo&Co)forthe
defendants

Parties : ProtaxCooperativeSocietyLtdTohTengSengSngSoonHeng

JUDGMENT:
GroundsofJudgment
Background

1.ProtaxCooperativeSocietyLimited(theplaintiffs)isaregisteredcooperativesocietywithover400Muslimtaxidriversasmembers.They
carriedonbusinesspreviouslyatNos.357,359and359ABedokRoad,Singapore(thepremises)andoperatedacoffeeshopunderthename
of Protax Caf at Nos. 357 and 359 (1st storey units). Their office was at No 359A (the 2nd storey unit above). The plaintiffs rented out a
numberofthefoodstallsinthecoffeeshopincludingsomespareroomsatthe2nd storeyunit.

2.Byadeedofassignmentmadeon15November1998,theplaintiffstookoverasubleasefromMrSyedAliBinSyedAbdullahSidek,who
hadleasedtheentirepremisesfromMrNgTiongKiat(theheadlessee).SometimeinSeptember1999,MrTohTengSengandMrSngSoon
Heng(thedefendants)purchasedthesaidpremisessubjecttotwoexistingheadleasesgrantedtotheheadlesseebytheformerowners,MrLim
SingKokandMrYongKumThong.

3.Inrespectofthe1st storeyunits,theheadleasedated1June1997wasforaperiodof7yearsexpiringon31May2004.Therentalwas
$10,800permonthpayableinadvanceanddueonthe1st dayofthemonth.

4.Theheadleaseforthe2nd storeyunit,dated4March1998,wasforaperiodof6yearsand5monthsfrom15December1997to14May
2004.Therentwas$2,000permonthalsopayableinadvanceandwouldfalldueonthe15th dayofeachmonth.

Claim

5.Theplaintiffsallegedthatthedefendantsenteredthepremiseson15February2000withouttheirpermission.Theplaintiffsandvariousother
stallholdersweretoldtoleavethepremiseswithin24hours.Onthefollowingday,thedefendantschangedthelocksandlockedthepremises.

6. The defendants then handed possession of the premises to their new tenants, Mdm Fariday Awall Walter and Mr Amin Awall, who
proceededtocarryoutrenovations.

7.Theplaintiffsaverredthatthedefendantshadcommittedtrespass.Thefollowingdamageswereclaimed:
(a)Lossofrentalfromvariousstallholdersat$15,300permonthfrom16February2000to31
July2003

(b)Lossofprofitfromtheplaintiffsdrinkstall

(c)Lossofprofitfromtheplaintiffschickenricestall

(d)Lossofrentalof3roomsatthe2 nd storeyunit

(e)Lossorremovalofvariouschattelsatthepremisesand

(f) Punitive or alternatively aggravated damages due to the mental distress and humiliation
sufferedbytheplaintiffsrepresentatives.

DefenceandReply

8.Thedefendantsreliedonthefactthattheyhadservedawritofpossession(DCSuitNo.5500/1999)ontheheadlesseefordefaultingin
paymentofhisrent.TheheadlesseeinhisdefenceintheDCSuitadmittedtherentarrearsandthedefendantsdeterminationoftheleases.The
headlesseefurthercounterclaimedforarefundofhisrentaldeposit.Thedefendantsregardedthisasawrongfulrepudiationonthepartofthe
headlesseebutacceptedthatrepudiationnevertheless.Accordingly,thedefendantsreenteredthepremises.Tomitigatetheirloss,theyreletthe
premisestonewtenants.

9. On 27 March 2000, about 6 weeks after the reentry, the head lessee obtained a grant of relief against forfeiture from the court. The
defendantsappealagainstthatorderwasdismissedon25April2000.Soonthereafteron3May2000,thedefendantsreturnedthekeystothe
headlessee.Therewasnounduedelay.

10.Onthesefacts,MrHarbajanSinghactingforthedefendants,submittedthattherewasnotrespass.Untiltheheadlesseeobtainedrelief,the
headlesseehadnostatusontheproperty.MrSinghcontendedthatthedefendantshadactedthroughoutingoodfaithontheirrighttoforfeit
undertheleasesfornonpaymentofrent,whereastheheadlesseeobtainedreliefagainstthatforfeiturenotonarighthehad,butonanexercise
oftheCourtsdiscretionbasedonequitableprinciples.

11.Inanswertothat,counselfortheplaintiffs,MrAndrewEe,arguedthatthedefendantshadwaivedtheirrighttoreenterthepremisesby
accepting the outstanding rent, which was paid directly into defendants joint bank account. Once that right was lost, the reentry became
unlawfulandhence,thedefendantshadcommittedtrespass.

12.MrEesubmittedthatthecontemporaneousbookentriesrecordedbythedefendantsshowedthatthedepositsofmoneybytheheadlessee
into the defendants joint account were accepted and treated by the defendants as payment towards the rent on a firstinfirstout basis. For
simplicity,Ihavecollatedtheparticularsofthevariouspaymentsinthetablebelow:

(a)RentpaymentsforUnitNos357and359

DueDate Amount Righttoreenterand DateofPaymentintoBankAcctDefendantscametoknowon


determineleaseifunpaidby
1.10.1999 $10,800 22.10.1999 18.10.1999 1
1.11.1999 $10,800 22.11.1999 18.12.1999 1
1.12.1999 $10,800 22.12.1999 08.02.2000 15.02.2000
1.01.2000 $10,800 22.01.2000 12.02.2000 17or18.02.2000
1.02.2000 $10,800 22.02.2000 12.02.2000 17or18.02.2000
1.03.2000 $10,800 22.03.2000 03.03.2000 1
(b)RentpaymentsforUnitNo359A
DueDate Amount Righttoreenterand DateofPaymentintoBank Defendantscametoknowon
determineleaseifunpaidby Acct
15.09.1999 $2,000 29.09.1999 24.09.1999 1
15.10.1999 $2,000 29.10.1999 26.10.1999 1
15.11.1999 $2,000 29.11.1999 03.01.2000 1
15.12.1999 $2,000 29.12.1999 12.02.2000 17or18.02.2000
15.01.2000 $2,000 29.01.2000 17.02.2000 1
15.02.2000 $2,000 29.02.2000 10.03.2000 1
15.03.2000 $2,000 29.03.2000 31.03.2000 1

Counselssubmissionsandthelaw

13. Mr Ee conceded that if the head lease had been validly determined by forfeiture, then the sublease, which depended on the head lease,
wouldautomaticallydetermine.Herightlyacknowledgedthattherewouldbenotrespassifthereentrytookplaceaftertheheadleasehadbeen
forfeitedunlessthatforfeiturewaswaived.

14.Onthefacts,MrEesubmittedthatthedefendantshadwaivedtheirrightofreentryandforfeiturebyacceptingalltheoutstandingrentdue
onthe1st storeyunitson12February2000(i.e.3daysbeforethedateofreentry).

15.MrEereferredmetoSections18and18AoftheConveyancingofLawandPropertyAct(Cap.61)inrelationtothestatutoryrestrictions
onandreliefagainstforfeitureofleases.MrEecorrectlypointedoutthatSection18wasnotapplicabletoareentryorforfeitureduetonon
paymentofrent:seeSection18(9).However,hesaidthatSection18Aapplieswherethelessorisproceedingbywritactiontoenforcearight
ofreentryorforfeiturefornonpaymentofrent.IobservedhoweverthatSection18Adoesnotdealwiththecentralissueshere,namely,when
andhowarightofreentryandforfeiturefornonpaymentofrentmaylawfullybeexercised.Neitherdoesitdealwiththecircumstancesunder
whichawavierarises.Thesearegovernedbythecommonlaw.

16.AsIwillexplainlater,Ifoundonthefactsthatthephysicalreentrywaspeaceablyeffected.Thedefendantsregainedpossessionofthe
premises.Thetwoheadleaseswerelawfullyforfeitedfornonpaymentofrent.Althoughthedefendantssucceededintheirselfhelpremedyof
physicalreentrywithoutresortingtolegalaction,neverthelessthecourtcanstillgrantreliefonequitablegroundsbyrestoringpossessionto
theheadlesseeandonwhatevertermsitdeemsfit.However,itdoesnotfollowthatasubsequentgrantofreliefagainstforfeiturenecessarily
convertsanearlierlawfulreentryintoatrespass.

17.MrEecontendedthataleasecanonlybeforfeitedafterajudgmentororderforpossessionisobtained.Untilsuchtimethatthelandlord
obtains an order or judgment for possession, the tenants lease has not been forfeited. On that basis, the reentry was unlawful because no
judgmentororderforpossessionwasobtainedbythedefendantspriortothereentry.

18.Ididnotagree.Inmyjudgment,thelessormayreenterphysicallyandpeaceably,providedthathisrighttoreenterandforfeithasarisen
underthetermsoftheleaseandthatrighthasnotinthemeantimebeenwaivedbyhim,whetherinadvertentlyorotherwise.Wherethelandlord
manages to secure actual possession without the assistance of the court, why must there always be a supporting order or judgment for
possessionbeforetheleasecanbeforfeited?Regainingphysicalpossessionisclearproofofthelandlordsintentionandelectiontoforfeitand
endthetenancy,subjectofcoursetothecourtsdiscretiontograntequitablereliefagainsttheforfeiture.

19.Similarly,serviceofthewritofpossessiononthetenantisanunequivocalactamountingtoaconstructivereentryandforfeiture.MrEes
propositionthatajudgmentforpossessionisaprerequisiteforalawfulreentryandforfeiturehasnobasiswhatsoeverinlaw.

20.BeforeIdelveintotheapplicationofthelawtotheuniquefactsofthiscase,itisappropriatetoexaminetherathertechnicaldoctrineofre
entryandwaiverinthelawoflandlordandtenant.TheLawCommissioninEnglandin1985stated,quitejustifiably,inpara.1.3ofitsreport,
(1985) Law Com. No. 142, that the present law, "besides being unnecessarily complicated, is no longer coherent and may give rise to
injustice".TheLawCommissionexaminedthevariousdeficienciesandrecommendedareplacementwithanewstatutoryschemetosimplify
thisareaofthelaw.Bethatasitmay,thecommonlawinSingaporemirrorsthatinEnglandinthisarea.

(a)DoctrineofWaiver

21.Hill&RedmansLawofLandlord&Tenant17th Ednsuccinctlysummarisesatp451thelawinrelationtowaiverofarightofforfeiture:

WaiverofForfeitureRule131

(1)Arightofreentrymaybewaivedeitherexpresslyorimpliedly.Thereisanimpliedwaiver
wherethelessorwithknowledgeofthecauseofforfeituredoesanyactwhichrecognisesthe
continuedexistenceofthetenancy.

(2)Anactionfor,demandfor,orreceiptofrentaccruedduesincethecauseofforfeiturewith
knowledgebythelessorofthatcauseisanimpliedwaiver.

(3) Where there is a continuing breach of covenant a waiver does not extend to breaches
continuingbeyondthedateoftheactswhichconstitutethewaiver.

22.Goodguidanceinthisareaofthelawcanalsobeobtainedfromparagraphs509and510atp475and476ofHalsburysLawsofEngland
4th EdnReissueVol27(1):
509.Waiverofforfeiture

.Thelandlordhastheoptionwhethertotakeadvantageofaforfeitureornotand,ifheelectsnottodoso,theforfeitureiswaived.Such
electionmaybeeitherexpressorimplied,anditisimpliedwhen,afterthecauseofforfeiturehascometohisknowledge,thelandlorddoesany
actwherebyherecognisestherelationshipoflandlordandtenantasstillcontinuing.If,however,itisshownthat,withknowledgeofthecause
offorfeiture,thelandlordhasrecognisedthetenancy,hewillbeprecludedfromsayingthathedidnotdotheactwiththeintentionofwaiving
theforfeiture.Alandlorddoesnotwaivetheforfeiturebymerelystandingbyandseeingitincurred,as,forexample,wherethetenantmakes
alterationsinbreachofcovenantandthelandlorddoesnotinterferetheremustbesomepositiveactofwaiver.Thereisnodifferencein
principleintherulesgoverningwaiveroftherighttoforfeiturewhetherthebreachisafailuretopaytherentorsomeotherbreachofcovenant.
506.Whatactsamounttowaiver.
Asubsistingtenancyisrecognised,and,ifthelandlordhasnoticeofthecauseofforfeiture,theforfeitureiswaived:

(i)bybringinganactionfor,orbythemerereceiptof,rentwhichhasaccruedduesincethecause
offorfeiture,whethertheforfeitureisforconditionbrokenorunderanexpressprovisoforre
entry
(ii)

(iii).

Ademandmadebythelandlordorhisagentwithknowledgeofthebreachforrentdueafter
thecauseoftheforfeitureoperatesasawaiver.Wheremoneyisaccepted,itisaquestionof
factwhetheritistenderedandacceptedasrentifitissotenderedandaccepted,itisthena
principle of law that, so long as the landlord then knew of the breach, the acceptance
constitutesawaiver.Thusthefactthatthelandlord,byacceptingrent,hasnoactualintention
ofwaivingthebreachdoesnotpreventhisactionamountinginlawtoawaiver.Norcanthe
landlordpreventthewaiverbydemandingoracceptingrentwithoutprejudice.Anacceptance
of rent in error by a managing agents clerk will bind the landlord and waive the breach. If,
however,thelandlordhasalreadyshownafinaldeterminationtotakeadvantageof
the forfeiture, for instance by commencing an action to recover possession, no
subsequentact,whetherreceiptofrent,ordistress,orotherwise,willoperateasa
waiver.Forfeitureisnotwaivedbyacceptanceofrentaccruedduebeforethecause
of forfeiture unless at the same time the landlord recognises the tenancy as
subsisting, as, for example, where he describes the tenant as such in the receipt.
(Emphasisismine.)

23.Ihavealsoextractedcertainusefulportionsfrom"TheForfeitureofLeases"byMarkPawlowski(1993)atp152155:

(1)Anunambiguousdemandforrentaccruingdueafterthebreachofcovenantwillconstitute
awaiverofforfeiture...Needlesstosay,thebringingofanactionforrentaccruingdueafter
the breach will also amount to a waiver of the forfeiture: Dendy v Nicholl. Demand for rent
qualified by such terms as "without prejudice" or "under protest" will operate as an effective
waiver:SegalSecuritiesLtd.vThoseby.

(2)Anacceptanceofrentaccruingdueafterthebreachofcovenantwillconstituteawaiverof
forfeiture..

(3)Afurtherpointtobearinmindrelatestothedemand(oracceptance)ofrent(a)inarrear
and (b) in advance as regards continuing breaches of covenant. Demand (or acceptance) of
rent payable in arrear will only amount to a waiver of the forfeiture for the period up to the
datewhentherentfallsdueandthelandlordwillnotbeprecludedfromtakingadvantageof
thecontinuingbreachaftersuchdate.Ontheotherhand,ademand(oracceptance)ofrent
payable in advance will operate as a waiver of past and continuing breaches known to the
landlordatthetimeofacceptanceoftherentandforsuchperiodasthelandlordknowsthey
willcontinue.Footnote:Butit,clearly,cannotconstituteawaiveroffuturebreachesofwhich
thelandlordhasnoadvanceknowledge.
24.Itwouldappearthatwaiverisentirelyamatteroflawandnotofthepartiesintention.Thelandlordthuscouldnot,withknowledgeofthe
eventofforfeiture,avoidawaiverofforfeiturebyacceptingordemandingrentaccruingdueafterthateventbystipulatingthattherentwas
accepted"underprotest"or"withoutprejudice".Thefactthatthelandlorddidnotintendtowaiveisirrelevant.AsParkerJ.saidinMatthewsv
Smallwood(1910)1Ch777atp786787:

If,knowingofthebreach,hedoesdistrain,ordoesreceivetherent,thenbylawhewaivesthe
breach,andnothingwhichhecansaybywayofprotestagainstthelawwillavailhimanything.

25.MrEecitedtomeHongCheokLamvOngSingMaiand4others(1951)17MLJ34.Theretheplaintiffrentedoutpremisesonamonthly
tenancytooneMrLim,whoinbreachofthetermsoftenancyagainstsubletting,hadsubletpartsofthesaidpremisestothe4defendants.On7
November1949,theplaintiffssolicitorswrotetoMrLim,complainingofthesubletting.On2December1949,anoticetoquitwasservedon
MrLim.Butpriortoitsexpiration,theplaintiffacceptedrentaccruingdueafterthedateofthecomplaint.Whenthesubtenantsrefusedtoquit,
theplaintiffscommencedrecoveryproceedingsagainstthem,interalia,onthegroundoftheprohibitedsubtenancy.Itwasheldonappealfrom
theCivilDistrictCourtinSingaporebyMurrayAynsleyC.J.thatacceptanceofrentafterknowledgeofthebreachamountedtoawaiverofthe
rightofreentry.TheEnglishpositioninNormanvSimpson(1946)K.B.158wasfollowed.

26.TheCourtofAppealinSingaporeinStationHotelCovMalayanRailwayAdministration[1993]3SLR403appearedtohaveacceptedthat
the English principles on waiver of forfeiture on acceptance of rent after knowledge of breach would similarly apply in Singapore for
contractualtenanciesofnonrentcontrolledpremises,althoughtheyhavenoapplicationinrelationtoabreachoftheprovisionsoftheControl
ofRentActinrespectofrentcontrolledpremises.

27.ThereisclearauthorityinSingaporethatanactualreceiptofrentpriororsubsequenttotheforfeiture,whichrentaccruedduebeforethe
cause of forfeiture, will not amount to a waiver. For it to operate as a waiver, the receipt must be of rent accruing due after the cause of
forfeiturehasarisen.WorleyJ.inLowBeeHoe(w)vMorsalimChin(1947)MLJ3,anappealfromtheCivilDistrictCourtinSingapore,had
thistosay:

I do not know of any authority for the proposition that acceptance, after expiry of notice to
quit,ofrentaccrueddueforaperiodnotgoingbeyondthedateofexpirationofthenoticecan
be a waiver of that notice and I cannot find any authority for it in the cases to which I was
referred. The case most in point is Price v Worwood (1859) 28 L.J. 329 where Baron Martin
said"a receipt of rent to operate as a waiver of forfeiture must be a receipt of rent
whichwasbecomedueaftertheforfeiturewasincurredandthemerereceiptofthe
moneyafterwardstherenthavingbecomeduepreviouslyisofnoconsequenceand
fortheveryplainreasonthattheentryforaconditionbrokendoesnotatallaffect
the right to receive payment of a preexisting debt." In my view this reasoning
appliesequallytoreceiptofrentaccruedduepriortotheexpiryofanoticetoquit.
(Emphasismine.)

AspointedoutinDaviesv.Bristow(1920)3K.B.428,thenoticehavingexpired,thelandlord
can no more waive it than he can waive the effluxion of time: the contractual relationship
between the parties is ended but, whereas at common law if there is no fresh agreement
betweenthem,(whichmayifnecessarybeinferredfromtheacceptanceofrent)theformer
tenantbecomesatrespasser,

28.InPricevWorwood(1859)4H&N512,theplaintiffbroughtanactiontorecoverpossessionofthreehousesonaccountofthetenants
failuretoinsure.However,theplaintiffreceivedrentfromtheundertenantsofthepremisesthedaybeforehetookoutthewrit.ChannellB.
held that the plaintiff must show that as of the date of writ he has the right to enter the premises before he can succeed in his action of
ejectment.Hemustshowthatthepremiseshadremaineduninsuredasatthedateofwritandundercircumstancesthatwouldentitlehimto
take advantage of the forfeiture. He found that there was a continuing breach between date of payment of rent and the time the action was
brought.MartinB.furtheraddedthattherewouldbeagoodrighttomaintaintheejectment,forthenoninsuranceisacontinuingbreach,and
itscontinuanceduringtheperiodbetweenthetimeofthepaymentoftherentonthe23Decemberandthecommencementofthesuitonthe
24th issufficientforthepurposeofentitlingtheplaintifftohisverdict.

(b)ContinuingBreach
29.TheCourtofAppealinEnglanddealtwithanothercaseofcontinuingbreachinPentonvBarnett[1898]1QB376.Theheadnotereadsas
follows:

Aleasecontainedageneralcovenanttorepairandacovenanttorepairwithinthreemonths
after notice. The premises being out of repair, the lessor gave notice to the lessee under the
ConveyancingAct,1881,torepairwithinagiventime.Threedaysaftertheexpirationofthe
notice a quarters rent became due. No repairs having been done by the tenant, the lessor
broughtanactiontorecoverpossession,andintheactionclaimedthequartersrent:

Held, that, the breach of covenant being a continuing one, no new notice was required in
respectofthenonrepairaftertheexpirationofthetimespecifiedinthenotice,andthatthe
claimforrentdidnotaffecttherighttopossessioninrespectofnonrepairafterthedatewhen
therentfelldue.

30.InPentonscase,A.L.SmithL.J.acceptedthepropositionthattheclaimforrentupto25December1896wasatmostanelectiontotreatthe
defendantasatenantuptothatdate.Butinasmuchasbetweenthatdateand14January1897,beingthedatethewritofpossessionwasissued,
thepremiseshadremainedinthesamestateofdisrepair,therewasabreachofcovenantbetweenthosedatesinrespectofwhichtheplaintiff
couldmaintainhisactionforpossession.RibgyL.J.saidthatthelandlordhadapowerofreentrysolongastherewasabrokencovenantanda
continuingbreach.Asnothingwasdonesincethenoticetorepair,thepositionon14January1897wouldbethattheplaintiffhadtherightto
determinethetenancybytheissueofthewrit,andtosueinrespectofsuchrightsashadaccruedtohimduringthetenancy.

31.ThecourtinDoe.Dem.AmblervBoodbridge(1829)9B&C377heldthattheuseofroomsinamannerprohibitedbytheleasewasa
continuingbreach,andthatthelandlordwasnot,byreceivingrent,precludedfromtakingadvantageoftheforfeiturebecausethecontinueduse
afterreceiptofrentwasanewbreachofcovenanteverydayduringthetimethattheyweresoused.

32.InDoevJones(1850)5Exch498,thejudgeshadthistosay:

PollockCB:Wherereasonabletimeforrepairgiveninthenoticewasstillrunning,therewasno
breachtowaiveasopposedtoacaseofbreachbeforereceiptofrent,wheretheacceptanceof
rentisawaiveroftheforfeitureactuallyincurred.

AldersonB:Thereceiptofrentisawaiverofallforfeitures,whichare,sotospeak,singleand
complete, and are not in the nature of continuing forfeitures. So with respect to continuing
forfeitures,wherethelesseeisboundfromtimetotimetokeepthepremisesinrepair,andhe
omitsforanunreasonabletime,butafterwardsrepairsthem,therethereceiptofrentwaives
thepreviousforfeiture.Butwherethematterisplainlyacontinuingbreach,theonlyquestion
is,whether,whenthepartyseekstoreenter,thepremiseshavebeenanunreasonabletime
outofrepairandsocontinue.

Rolfe,B:Iamofthesameopinion.If,insteadof"areasonabletime,"theleasehadnamedfive
days,withinwhichthelesseewastorepair,therecouldhavebeennodifficulty,becausethe5
dayshadelapsedon25March1847:thereceiptofrentwouldhavebeenawaiveroftheactual
breach,butitwouldhavebeennowaiverofaneglecttorepairbetweenthe21 st and25 th,for
thentherewasnocompletebreach.

PlattB:Itisafallacytosaythatthereceiptofrentwasawaiverofthebreachofcontractto
repair,foritwasacontinuingbreach,anduntiltherepairswereperfected,thelessorsofthe
plaintiffwereentitledtoreenterfortheforfeiture.

33.TheCourtofAppealinDownievTurner[1951]AllER416tooktheviewhoweverthatsublettinginbreachofthecovenantwasnota
continuingorrecurringbreach.ItwasaonceandforallbreachtakingplaceatthetimethesublettingfirsttookplaceinFebruary1946.After
knowingofthesubletting,thelandlordcontinuedhowevertoacceptrentuntil13February1950.InApril1950,thelandlordservedanoticeof
forfeiture.Thelandlordwasheldtohavewaivedthatsublettingbecausehehad,withknowledgeofit,acceptedrentsubsequenttothedateof
thebreach.

34.InFarimanivGates[1984]2EGLR66,theCourtofAppealexplainedthedifferencebetweenarecurringbreachandasinglebreachinthe
followingterms:
Ifanobligationistoperformanactbyagiventime,oncethattimehaselapsedandtheact
hasnotbeenperformed,thereisabreachofasingleobligationandnotofacontinuingone.
The fact that it still lies within the power of the lessee to perform the act cannot affect the
nature of his obligation. In this field of law a reference to a continuing breach is a way of
referring to breaches of a continuing obligation and does not refer to the ability to remedy a
singlebreach.Thereisnodifferencebetweenanobligationtoperformanactbyagivendate
andanobligationtoperformanactwithinareasonabletime.Ifthetenantfailstoperformthe
act within a reasonable time he has broken his obligation, which is a single and not a
continuingobligation:seeReKing[1963]1Ch459,CA,inwhichLordDenningMRsaidatp
478:

Let me next take the covenant to reinstate. Suppose the premises are
damagedbyfire.Thelesseedoesnotreinstatewithinareasonabletime.The
breachisoveronceandforall,butitseffectcontinues.

35.Withguidancefromtheauthoritiesabove,Ithereforeholdthatjustaswiththegeneralcovenanttorepair,theobligationtopayrentonthe
duedateeachmonththroughouttheentiredurationoftheleaseisacontinuingobligation.Itgivesrisetoacontinuingrightofreentryanda
continuallyrecurringcauseofforfeitureshouldtheobligationtopayrentbebreached.Iftherentisnotpaidbythegraceperiodstipulated,each
daythereafterthattheaccumulatedrentorpartthereofremainsunpaidmustbetreatedasafreshbreachofobligation,entitlingthelandlordto
exercisehisrightofreentryasprovidedinthelease.Astherentaccruesdaily,afailuretopayrentontheduedatecannotberegardedasaonce
andforallbreach.Itisdifferentfromabreachbywayofsubletting,wherethebreach(i.e.theactofsubletting)isregardedasaonceandforall
breachofcovenanttakingplaceatthetimethesublesseewasfirstletintothepremises.

(c)Serviceofwritofpossession

36. Upon service of a writ of possession or after a physical reentry, the right of reentry ceases to be capable of waiver. It has been
consummated.Thus,acceptanceofrentorlevyingdistressafterserviceofawritofpossessioncannotberegardedasconductamountingtoa
waiver.

37.InGrimwoodvMoss(1871)L.R.7C.P.360,itwasheldthatthelandlordsdistressforrentafterthedateofserviceofproceedingsfor
possessionwasnotconductamountingtoawaiver.

38.InCivilServiceCooperativeSocietyvMcGrigorsTrustee[1923]2Ch347,thedefendantlesseesreliedonademandfor,paymentand
acceptanceof,rentbytheplaintifflandlordsasawaiversinceactionbroughtofthecausesofforfeiture,namely,abreachofcovenantagainst
assignmentorotherwisepartingwiththedemisedpremisesandthebankruptcyofthelessees.Thedemandforrentwasmadewithknowledge
ofthebankruptcyandwasforrentaccruedinpartbeforethebankruptcy,inpartbetweenthebankruptcyandthewrit,andinpartsubsequentto
thewrit.Theplaintiffsclaimedinthewritthattheywereentitledtorecoverpossessionofthepremisesasonaforfeitureofthelease,delivery
upofpossessionandmesneprofits.Onthequestionwhetherthedemandforrentoperatedasawaiveroftheforfeiture,RussellJ.,answeredin
the negative and held that the plaintiffs were entitled to recover possession on the ground of the tenants bankruptcy. In the course of his
judgment,RussellJ.referredtoDendyvNicholl[1893]2Ch.271,asacasewherethelandlord,withknowledgeofanunderlettinginbreachof
covenant,hadsuedthetenantforarrearsofrentaccruingsubsequenttotheunderletting,andobtainedpayment.Aftertheissueofthewritfor
rent, but before actual payment of the amount claimed, the landlord commenced an ejectment action based on nonpayment of rent and the
underletting.Althoughthecourtthereheldthatthebringingoftheactionforrent,andacceptanceoftherentwasawaiveroftherightofre
entry,whichwaiveroccurredbeforetheejectmentbrought,RusselJ.didnotthinkthatthecourttouchedontherealquestionnamely,whether
theissueandserviceofawritinejectmentwassuchafinalelectionbythelandlordtodeterminethetenancythatasubsequentreceiptofrent
wasnowaiveroftheforfeiture.Hethensaid:
Inmyopiniontheauthoritiesestablishthatthisisso.InJonesv.Carter15M.&W.718,Parke
B. held that after ejectment brought, there being no evidence of actual reentry by the
landlord, the landlord could not sue for rent and he cites with approval a decision of Lord
Tenterden that the receipt of rent after ejectment brought for a forfeiture was no waiver of
suchforfeiture:Doev.Meux(1824)1C.&P.346.TothesameeffectisthecaseofGrimwood
vMossL.R.7C.P.360,whereitisdefinitelystatedthatthebringingofanejectmentactionis
anirrevocableelectiontodeterminethetenancy:seealsoRexv.Paulson[1921]1A.C.271
andEvans v. Enever [1920] 2 K.B. 315. I adopt the words of Lord Coleridge J. in Evans v.
Enever where he says at p 320: "There is a series of cases which establish that if an
action is brought for recovery of possession for breaches of covenants in the lease
thatisanirrevocableelectiontodeterminethelease,andthatnosubsequentactsof
theplaintiffcanbereliedonasqualifyingthatposition."(Emphasisismine.)

39.Afterananalysisofthevariousauthorities,SachsJinSegalSecurities,Ltd.vThoseby[1963]1AllE.R.500said:

Clearly,[ademandfororacceptanceofrentpayableinadvance]cannotbeawaiveroffuture
breaches of which the landlord has no advance knowledge. Equally clearly, an acceptance of
rentinadvancedoeswaiveanoncontinuingbreachinthepast:suchawaiverappliesbothto
thepastandtotheperiodcoveredbytherent.Asregardscontinuingbreaches,itseemstome
thatintheabsenceofexpressagreement,theacceptanceofrentinadvancecan,athighest,
only waive those breaches that are at the time of demand known to be continuing, and to
waivethemforsuchperiodasitisdefinitelyknownthattheywillcontinue.

40.Inshort,ademandoracceptanceofrentduebeforeabreachofcovenantdoesnotperseconstituteawaiver.Neitherdoesdemandingnor
acceptingrentafterareentryandforfeiturewaivetheforfeiturethathastakenplacebecauseanirrevocableelectiontodeterminetheleasehas
already been made. Thus, any acts of the lessor subsequent to a constructive reentry and forfeiture by the issue and service of a writ of
possession,orsubsequenttoanactualpeaceablereentry,willnotbecapableofwaivingtheforfeiture.However,ifthereisnowritissued,or
nophysicalorconstructivereentryasyet,ademandoracceptanceofrentaccrueddueafterthedateofthebreachofcovenantorthedateon
whichtherightofforfeitureariseswillconstituteawaiverirrespectiveofwhetherthedemandoracceptanceoftherentisonawithoutprejudice
basis.Thisappliesjustaswelltoabreacharisingfromnonpaymentofrent.

(d)Dispensationwithnoticeofformaldemand

41.Thewordswhetherformallydemandedornotoftenappearinforfeitureprovisionsfornonpaymentofrentbecauseforfeiturecannotbe
obtainedatcommonlaw,unlessthereisaformaldemandforrent.Forthisreason,leasesoftenexpresslydispensewiththeneedforaformal
demand.

42.Sincethecommonlawrequiresaformaldemandbeforeforfeiturecanbeeffective,itnecessarilymeansthatademandforrentalarrears
accumulated prior to the cause of forfeiture itself cannot amount to a waiver of the forfeiture. Otherwise, it would be defeating the very
objective(i.etheforfeiture)thatissought.Toconstituteawaiverofforfeiture,thedemandforrentmustnecessarilybeforrentaccruingdue
afterthecauseofforfeiturehasarisen.Therefore,demandsforrentaccruingduebeforethecauseofforfeiturecannothavetheeffectofwaiving
theforfeiture.

43.Whatalsoseemsclearafterareviewoftheauthoritiesisthatwhereitisanewbreachsurfacingoranexistingbreachcontinuingaftertheact
ofwaiver,thenafreshrightofreentryandforfeitureflowingfromthatbreachwillarise.Awaiveroperatesonlyinrespectofthosebreaches
antedatingthelandlordsactofwaiver.

(e)Forcibleentry

44.Alandlordentitledtopossessionoflandmayenterforciblyandyetthetenantmayhavenocivilremedyagainsthimforthatentryalthough
heisliabletocriminalproceedings:Hill&RedmansLawofLandlordandTenant17th Ednatp521.InBladesvHiggs(1861)10CBNS713,
ErleC.J.deliveringthejudgmentofthecourtsaid:
Ithasbeendecidedthattheowneroflandentitledtothepossessionmayenterthereonand
useforcesufficienttoremoveawrongdoertherefrom.Inrespectofland,aswellaschattels,
thewrongdoershavearguedthattheyoughttobeallowedtokeepwhattheyarewrongfully
holding,andthattheownercannotuseforcetodefendhisproperty,butmustbringhisaction,
lestthepeaceshouldbeendangeredifforcewasjustified:seeNewton v. Harland, 1 M. & G.
644,1Scott,N.R.474.But,inrespectofland,thatargumenthasbeenoverruledinHarveyv.
Brydges, 14 M.& W. 442. Parke, B., says: "Where a breach of the peace is committed by a
freeholder, who, in order to get possession of his land, assaults a person wrongfully holding
possessionofitagainsthiswill,althoughthefreeholdermayberesponsibletothepublicinthe
shapeofanindictmentforaforcibleentry,heisnotliabletotheotherparty.Icannotseehow
it is possible to doubt that it is a perfectly good justification to say that the plaintiff was in
possessionofthelandagainstthewillofthedefendant,whowasowner,andthatheentered
uponitaccordinglyeventhoughinsodoingabreachofthepeacewascommitted.

Inouropinion,allthatissosaidoftherightofpropertyinland,appliesinprincipletoarightof
propertyinachattel,andsupportsthepresentjustification.Iftheownerwascompellableby
lawtoseekredressbyactionforaviolationofhisrightofproperty,theremedywouldbeoften
worsethanthemischief,andthelawwouldaggravatetheinjuryinsteadofredressingit.

Eventsleadingtothereentryandrepossession

45.On30November1999,thedefendants,throughtheirsolicitorsJingQuee&ChinJoo,sentaletterofdemandforpaymentby6December
1999oftheoutstandingNovember1999rent(amountingto$10,800)inrespectofthe1st storeyunits.Anotherletterofdemanddatedthesame
daywasissuedforthearrearsofrentalsoforNovember1999(amountingto$2,000)inrespectofthe2nd storeyunit.Bothletterstothehead
lessee clearly stated that in the event of nonpayment, the defendants would commence legal action to recover the arrears of rent without
prejudicetotheirrightstoreenterandtakepossessionofthepremisespursuanttoClause4(a)oftherespectivetenancyagreements.Each
letterfurtherdemandedpaymentofthecostsanddisbursementsincurredtodateof$51.50cts.

46.Clause4(a)oftheheadleaseforthe1st storeyunitsstates:

4.Providedalwaysanditisherebyagreed:

(a)Thatifanypartofanyrentherebyreservedshallatanytimebearrearfor
twentyone days (whether formally demanded or not) or if the tenant
shallneglecttoobserveanystipulationonhisparthereincontainedor..the
landlord may at any time hereafter reenter upon the demised
premises and thereupon this demise shall absolutely determine
(Emphasisismine.)

47.Clause4(a)oftheheadleaseforthe2nd storeyunitwasinsimilartermsasfollows:

4.PROVIDEDALWAYSanditisherebyagreedasfollows:

(a) If the rent hereby reserved or any part thereof shall be unpaid for
fourteen(14)daysafterbecomingpayable(whether formally demanded
or not) ... then... it shall be lawful for the Landlord at any time
thereafter to reenter upon the premises or any part thereof in the
name of the whole and thereupon this tenancy shall absolutely
determinebutwithoutprejudicetotherightofactionoftheLandlord
in respect of any antecedent breach of this Agreement by the Tenant.
(Emphasisismine.)
48.Clearly,theymustbeconstruedasforfeitureclauses,wheretherightofforfeitureaccruesonlyafterthegraceperiodhaselapsedandthe
overduerentremainsunpaid.Therightthenbecomesexercisableattheoptionofthelandlordbyareentryintothepremises.Thatreentrymay
beeffectedeitherbyapeaceablephysicalreentry,orbyissuingandservingawritofpossessionwhichamountstoaconstructivereentryin
law.ButIwouldnotgosofartoconstruetheaboveprovisionsasgivingarighttothelandlordtoterminatetheleasesabsolutely(asopposed
toamererighttoforfeit)soastodenythetenanthisaccesstoreliefagainstforfeiturealtogether.Shouldademandforrentbemadeduringthe
graceperiod,itwillnotamounttoawaiverbecauseitremainsademandbeforetherightofforfeiturehasarisen.Thereisnothingtowaiveas
yet.

49.Therequirementofaformaldemandbythecommonlawbeforethelandlordcanforfeitfornonpaymentofrenthasbeendispensedwithin
thiscasebyagreementofthepartieswiththeinsertionofthewords"whetherformallydemandedornot"intotheprovisoforreentryunder
clause4(a)inbothleases.Thelandlordmaythusreenterandforfeittheleasewithoutanypriordemandintheeventofabreachofthisclause
fornonpaymentofrent.

50.Whentheheadlesseefailedtopaybythedatestipulatedinthelettersofdemand(i.e.6December1999),thedefendantsfiledawritof
summons(DCSuitNo5500of1999)on13December1999,whereintheyclaimedthatbyreasonoftheheadlesseesfailuretopaytherent
bothforNovemberandDecember1999,theyhadacquiredandwereexercisingtheirrighttoforfeittherespectivetenancies,andthus,they
wereentitledtopossessionofthepremises.Theythenprayed,interalia,forimmediatedeliveryofpossession,paymentofrentalarrearsand
mesneprofitsuntildeliveryofvacantpossession.Therewasnothinginthewritclaiminganyreliefinconsistentwithanunequivocaldemand
forpossessionoranyreliefconsistentwithacontinuationofthelease.Clearly,bythetimethewritwasfiled,avalidcauseofreentryand
forfeiturehadarisenbecausethegraceperiodsforpaymentoftheNovember1999rentinrespectofbothheadleaseshadexpired.

51.Butbeforethewritwasserved,theheadlesseebanked$10,800directlyintothedefendantsjointbankaccountNo.014219706withDBS
on18December1999followingthepreviousagreedmodeofpaymentbydirectchequedeposits.AlthoughthiscoveredtherentforNovember
1999,itleftunpaidtheoverdueDecember1999rentforthe1st storeyunits.NeitherweretheNovemberandDecember1999rentsforthe2nd
storeyunitpaid.

52.Fortheperiodbetweentheissueandserviceofthewrit,MayJ.inRichardsvDeFreitas(1974)29P&CR1adoptedtheviewthatthere
isnolocuspoenitentiae (i.e. opportunity of repentance). Thus acceptance of the rent during this period would not prejudice the landlord or
amounttoawaiverofthecauseofforfeiture,whichhadaccruedpriortoandonwhichtheissueofthewritofpossessionwasbased.Assuch,
acceptanceofthe$10,800paymentinrespectoftheNovember1999rentforthe1st storeyunitsdidnotwaivetherightofforfeitureclaimedin
thewrit,whichwaspendingserviceontheheadlessee.

53.Sincethebreachoftherentclausemustberegardedasacontinuingbreach,thecauseofforfeitureunderclause4(a)wouldnaturallybe
recurringcontinually.EvenifthelatepaymentandacceptanceoftheNovember1999rentinrespectofthe1st storey unitscouldwaivethe
defendantsrighttoforfeitonaccountoftheheadlesseesfailuretopaytheNovember1999rentby21November1999,neverthelessitcould
notinmyjudgmentconstituteinlawawaiverofthefreshbreachesinvolvingthenonpaymentofthenextmonthsrentforthe1st and 2nd
storeyunits.TherighttoforfeitinrespectofthesefreshbreachesfornonpaymentoftheDecember1999renteventuallycrystallisedon21
December 1999 for the 1st storey units and on 29 December 1999 for the 2nd storey unit after the respective grace periods expired. The
crystallisationarosesubsequenttothedate(i.e.18December1999)onwhichtheheadlesseebankedinthesumof$10,800fortheNovember
1999rentforthe1st storeyunits.Hence,anyacceptancebythedefendantsofthissum,whetherasrent,damagesorotherwise,couldnever
constitute a waiver of these fresh breaches that followed. In my view, the defendants here were fully entitled to take advantage of any
subsequentfreshbreachesorcontinuationofabreach:Paragraph511Vol27(1)HalsburysLawofEngland(4th Edition Reissue)atp478
PentonvBarnett[1898]1QB276NewRiverCovCrumpton[1917]1KB762.

54.Asaresultofthatincompletesettlementoftheoverduerent,thedefendantssolicitorswrotealetterdated22December1999tothehead
lesseestatingthatthe$10,800receivedhadbeenappliedtowardspaymentofarrearsofrentaccumulatedbeforeDecember1999onthebasisof
theprincipleoffirstinfirstout.Thedefendantssolicitorsnotifiedtheheadlesseeinnouncertaintermsthatacceptanceofthispaymentandany
subsequentpaymentwastobewithoutprejudicetotheirclientsrightsaccruedtodate,includingtheirrighttodeterminethetenancyandrecover
possession of the premises together with all costs and expenses arising therefrom. In particular, their acceptance of payment was not to
prejudicetheirclientsrightsinDCSuitNo5500of1999,whichtheyhadcommencedagainsttheheadlessee.Thedefendantssolicitorswere
righttotakeadvantageoftheprincipleofnolocuspoenitentiaebetweentheissueofthewritanditspendingservice.Inotedthattheheadlessee
alreadyhadpriornoticethatiftheydidnotpayuptheNovember1999rentarrearsby6December1999,thedefendantswouldcommence
action.Iftheheadlesseedidnottakethatseriously,hehadonlyhimselftoblame.

55.Thedefendantssolicitorsthenenquiredfromtheheadlesseeifhehadappointedsolicitorstoacceptserviceofthewritorwaspreparedto
accept service at the office of the defendants solicitors. No reply was received. By this letter, the head lessee should be aware that the
defendantshadcommencedactiontorecoverpossession,althoughthewrithadnotbeenformallyservedonhim.Tobeeffectiveinlawtobring
about a notional reentry and an effective forfeiture of the lease, the lessor must serve the writ of possession on the tenant to signify his
intentiontotreattheleaseasatanend.
56.Inthemeantime,theheadlesseequicklydepositedafurthersumof$2000on3January2000directlyintothedefendantsjointbankaccount
tocoverthelongoutstandingNovember1999rent,thistimeforthe2nd storeyunit.Asexplainedearlier,thereisnolocuspoenitentiaebetween
theissueandserviceofthewritentitlingalesseetotendertherentandavoidforfeiture.InRichardsvDeFreitas(1974)29P&CR1),MayJ.
tooktheview,thoughitwasobiterdictum,thateveniftherewasacceptanceofpaymentoftherentbetweenthedateofissueofthewritandits
service,thepositionofthelandlordwouldnotbeprejudicedasagainsthistenant.Onthefactsofthatcase,hecouldnotseeanysuggestionthat
theacceptancewouldhavebeenwithanyintentionofcreatinganewtenancyinanyone.Therecouldbenopossiblewaiverofanyforfeitureif
theallegedgroundofforfeiturewasthefailuretopayrentwithinthestipulated21days.

57.On21January2000,thedefendantssolicitorseffectedsubstitutedserviceofthewritontheheadlesseebypastingacopyofthe
writandorderofsubstitutedserviceonthefrontdoorofNo359AandonthenoticeboardoftheSupremeCourt.Theplaintiffs,havingtheir
officethenatNo359A,shouldhavebeenfullyawareofthiswrit,andhence,oftheirheadlesseesfailuretopayrenttohislandlord.

58.Asonthedateofserviceofthewrit(i.e.21January2000),thegraceperiodsforpaymentoftheDecember2000rentsforthe1st storeyand
2nd storeyunitshadlongexpiredwithoutanypaymentforthcomingfromtheheadlessee.Thedefendantswerenodoubtentitledunderclause4
(a) of the respective leases, to reenter the premises at any time on account of these fresh and continuing breaches (as a further ground) to
determinetheleases.Asstipulatedinbothleases,noformaldemandforrentwasnecessaryasaprerequisiteforreentryandforfeiture.

59.Bythisactofservingthewrit,thedefendantsfinallyconveyedtotheheadlessee(andforthatmatterhisunderlesseestoo)theirunequivocal
demand for immediate recovery of possession pursuant to their right under the leases. It was an unqualified and conclusive election to
determinebothleases.Inservingthewrit,theyhadinlawnotionallyreenteredthepremisesandexercisedtheirrighttoforfeitthetwoleases.
AsstatedinCanasPropertyCoLtdvKLTelevisionServicesLtd[1970]2AllER795(C.A.),thelandlordmustnotonlyissue,butalsoserve
thewritofpossessiononthetenant,ifhewantstoeffectforfeitureforbreachofacovenantinaleasebywayofanotionalphysicalreentry.I
couldseenoreasonwhythedefendantsshouldbeprecludedfromsuingfortherentaccruedduepriortothedateofthenotionalreentryand
forfeitureon21January2000.Sincetherentwaspayableinadvanceandnotinarrear,allrentsaccrueddueincludingthemonthlyrentfalling
dueon1January2000couldbeclaimedasarrearsofrent,withoutanydangerarisingfromawaiveroftherightofreentryorforfeiture.Hadit
beenrentpayableinarrear,thentherentcouldonlybeclaimedupto21January2000andthereafter,itwouldhavetobeclaimedasmesne
profits until delivery up of possession. Where the head lessee continues to remain in possession, he must be held liable for mesne profits,
whicharetechnicallydamagesfortrespass.

60.Ajudgmentforpossession,ifobtained,wouldofcoursefinallyterminatethelease,andthatterminationwouldthenrelatebacktothedate
of forfeiture. If the landlord had thereafter reentered pursuant to that judgment for possession, relief against forfeiture would no longer be
possible. But in this case, the landlord physically reentered before obtaining judgment for possession. Hence, the court had the power
subsequently to grant the tenant relief against forfeiture upon the head lessees application. But that relief subsequently granted could not
retrospectivelyturnthedefendantsinlegalpossessionintotrespassers,whichapparentlywaswhatMrEehadbeenprecipitouslyhanginghis
clientscaseon.

61.IfoundParagraph508atp473ofVol27(1)HalsburysLawsofEngland(4th EditionReissue)tobeenlightening.Itstates:

508.Whatamountstoreentry.
Thetermsofaprovisoforreentryrequirethat,ifthelandlordelectstodeterminetheleaseforaforfeiture,hemustdoso
byreentry,whichthelandlordmayeffectbyphysicallyenteringuponthepremiseswiththeintentionofdeterminingthe
tenancyorbytheissueandserviceofproceedingsforrecoveryofpossessionofthepremises.Inthecaseofforfeiture
fornonpaymentofrentthelandlordmustfirstmakeformaldemandforpayment,unlessthisrequirementisdispensed
withbysuitablewordsintheproviso,orbystatute.Usuallytheformaldemandisexpresslydispensedwithbyinserting
thewords,whetherformallydemandedornot,

Actualentryisnotnecessaryinordertotakeadvantageoftheforfeiture.Whenthecauseofforfeitureiscomplete,the
landlordmaybringanactiontorecoverpossession,andthebringingoftheactionisequivalenttoactualentry.Ifthewrit
containsanunequivocaldemandforpossession,theserviceofthewritoperatesasafinalelectiontodeterminetheterm,
whetherjudgmentisobtainedornot.(Emphasisismine.)

62.InBillsonvResidentialApartmentsLtd.[1992]2W.L.R.15(H.L.),LordTemplemanpointedoutthat:

In order to exercise his option to determine the lease the landlord must either reenter the
premisesinconformitywiththeprovisoormustissueandserveawritclaimingpossession.The
bringingofanactiontorecoverpossessionisequivalenttoanentryfortheforfeiture.
63.Concludingonthispoint,thedefendantshadnotionallyreenteredandforfeitedtheleasesbyservingthewritofpossessionon21January
2000 pursuant to their right of reentry and forfeiture under the respective leases. Being a valid constructive reentry and forfeiture, the
defendantswouldnotinlawbeliabletoanytrespassonhisownpremises,shouldhefollowupwithapeaceablephysicalreentrytoregain
possession.

EffectofPleadingsinDCSuitNo550of1999

64.Othersubsequenteventsfortifiedthedefendantsdefencehere.WithoutpayingtheDecember1999andJanuary2000arrearsofrent,the
headlessee,throughhissolicitorsAndrewEe&Co.,filedandservedadefenceon3February2000inDCSuitNo5500of1999,admitting
therentalarrears.Theheadlesseesaidthatheintendedtosettlethearrearspromptlyandwouldseekrelieffromforfeiture.Thiswasnomore
thanamerestatementofafuturecourseofactionintendedbyhimratherthanaspecificlegalorequitabledefenceassuch.Infact,thehead
lesseeimplicitlyrecognisedinhisdefencethattheleasehadbeenforfeited.Otherwise,whyshouldheseekrelieffromforfeiture?Itmustbe
pointedoutthatbynow(i.e.3February2000),thegraceperiodshadexpirednotonlyfortheDecember1999butalsofortheoutstanding
January2000rentalforthepremisesunderthetwoheadleases.

65. What was more significant was that the head lessee had on the advice of his solicitors, counterclaimed for the return of his deposit of
$32,400beingtheequivalentof3monthsrental,andaverredinunambiguoustermsthattheleaseshadbeendetermined.Paragraph9ofthe
headlesseesdefence,whichIregardedasfataltotheplaintiffscase,wasasfollows:

9. The said Deposit should be refunded to the Defendant [i.e. head lessee] upon the
determinationofthesaid[Lease]Agreements,whichdeterminationhastakenplaceupon
theissueofthePlaintiffsWrit[i.e.WritofMrTohTengSengandMrSngSoonHeng]inthis
presentaction.(Emphasisismine.)

66. Either this amounted to a repudiatory breach in the form of a repudiatory termination of the two leases by the head lessee, which the
defendants were shown later to have accepted, or it was an express acceptance by the head lessee of the determination of the leases by the
defendantsupontheissueoftheirwritofpossession.StephenSedleyJ.inHusseinvMehlman[1992]2EGLR87wasoftheviewthatthe
doctrineofrepudiationappliedtotenancies.SeealsoCharteredTrustplcvDavies[1997]2EGLR83andNyeheadDevelopmentsLtdvRH
FibreboardContainersLtd[1999]2EG139.

67.Subjecttoanyrelevantstatutoryprovisionsonreliefagainstforfeitureandtothegenerallawofforfeitureapplicabletotenancies,Iwould
holdthatthisrepudiatorydeterminationoftheleasesbytheheadlesseewascapableofbeingacceptedbythelandlordresultinginapremature
determinationoftheleases,andineffectaforfeiture,butthisshouldnotprejudicetherightofthetenantstoapplyforreliefagainsttheforfeiture
nevertheless. It would be wrong I think to allow this common law doctrine of repudiation to circumvent the protection or relief otherwise
availabletotenantsagainstforfeitureoftheirleases.

68.Inmyview,theheadlesseehadnobasistoseekarefundofhisdepositunlesshealsoconsideredtheleasesashavingbeendeterminedby
theactofthedefendantsinissuingthewritfor,interalia,recoveryofpossession,whichdeterminationtheheadlesseemustinturnhaveagreed
to by filing his counterclaim in the terms he did. His unequivocal demand for an early refund of his rental deposit necessarily evinced his
intentiontobringtheleasestoaprematureend.Thesenewcircumstancesdistinguishedthiscaseandsetitapartfromtheauthoritiescitedbythe
plaintiffsinsupportoftheirargumentonwaiverofforfeiture.

69. Based on this defence as filed, I concluded that the defendants and the head lessee had, through this unexpected turn of events,
unequivocallycometoanagreementtotreatthetwotenanciesasforfeitedasof3February2000,thedateonwhichtheheadlesseesdefence
wasservedonthedefendants.Itmustfollowthatasubsequentpeaceablephysicalreentryintothepremisesbythedefendants,astheowners,
toregainpossessionunderthesecircumstanceswouldneveramounttoatrespassagainsttheheadlessee,orhisundertenantsforthatmatter,
namely,theplaintiffsinthiscase,whocouldhavenobetterrightthantheheadlesseeinthisrespect.Needlesstosay,therightsoftheplaintiffs
hereasthesubtenants,wouldbedestroyedoncetheheadlesseesleasewaslawfullyforfeited,thoughofcourse,theplaintiffsmightlaterapply
tothecourtthemselvesforrelieffromsuchforfeiture.

70.Moreover,Ididnotthinkitconscionablethatthedefendantsshouldberegardedastrespassersandbemadetopaydamageswhentheyhad
inthefirstplaceactedbonafideinthebeliefthattheheadlesseehadhimselfadoptedthepositionthatthetwotenancieswereterminated,and
thedefendantsthereforepeaceablyreenteredthepremisestoregainpossession,andfoundnewtenantstoleasethepremisesthereafter.
71.Forthereasonsgiven,theplaintiffsclaimmustbedismissed.Infact,oncetheheadleasehadbeenlawfullyforfeited,theundertenantsmust
themselves be regarded as trespassers in relation to the landlord and not the other way round. It would be preposterous to allow these
trespassingundertenantstoclaimdamagesfortrespassagainstthelandlord.

72.Itwouldbeworthwhilereiteratingatthisjuncturethatthefactthatatenantcouldsubsequentlyapplyforreliefagainstforfeituredidnot
meanthattheearlierlawfulreentrypursuanttoaforfeitureclauseforthefailuretopayrentwouldperseconstituteatrespass.Thelandlord
couldvalidlyholdontotherepossessedpremisesuntilthecourtsubsequentlyintervenesbygrantingreliefagainsttheforfeitureofthelease,
whereuponthelandlordwillhavetosurrenderpossessionofthepremisestothetenant.Butuntilthetenantsucceedsinobtainingsuchanorder
forrelief,itwillbethelandlord(asopposedtothetenant)whohastherighttoimmediateandcontinuedpossessionofthepremises.Justasthe
landlordcannotpossiblyclaimrentforthatinterimperiodwhilstheisinoccupationpriortosurrenderingpossessiontotheevictedtenantin
conformancewiththecourtordergrantingrelief,neithercantheevictedtenantclaimdamagesfortrespassbecause(a)thelandlordhasgained
lawfulpossessionfollowingalawfulreentryunderthetermsofthelease,and(b)thetenantisnolongerunderanobligationtopayrentfor
whichthequidproquoofpeaceableenjoymentofthedemisedpremisesduringthatinterimperiodwithoutanyinterruptionfromthelandlord
nolongerexists.

73.Insummarytherefore,whereanorderforreliefagainstforfeitureisgrantedbeforephysicalreentry,thelandlordwillnotbeentitledtore
enter.Butwheretheorderforreliefisobtainedafteralawfulphysicalreentrydonepeaceably,asinthiscase,thelandlordcannotbesaidto
havetrespassedduringtheinterimperiodwhenheremainsinpossessionpriortothegrantingofthereliefbythecourt.

74.InthereplyanddefencetothecounterclaiminDCSuitNo5500of1999,filedandservedon11February2000,MrTohTengSengand
MrSngSoonHeng(thedefendantshere)madecleartotheheadlesseethattheywerecompelledtoissueproceedingstorecoverpossessionof
thepremisesduetothenonpaymentofrentbyhimastheheadlessee.Damageswereclaimedforlossofrentsufferedfortheremainderofthe
termfromthedateonwhichpossessionwasrecovered.

75.Intheirreply,thedefendantsdidnotdisputeparagraph9ofthedefenceoftheheadlessee(whichassertedthattheleasesweredetermined
upon issue of the writ). Effectively, the defendants had on 11 February 2000 in their reply accepted the legal and factual position
adoptedbytheheadlessee.Thedefendantsonlycontendedinaverylimitedwaythattherefundofthefulldepositwasmisconceived,or
alternatively,thatitwaspremature,sincethecostofmakinggoodanydamagetothepremisesfoundafterrecoveryofpossessionwouldhave
to be deducted from that deposit. Clearly, the defendants were not by any means affirming the continuance of the tenancy in their reply by
disputingthattheheadlesseewasnotentitledimmediatelytoafullrefundofthedeposit.Thedefendantsstandallalonghadbeenfairlyclear
andconsistentthattheywantedthepremisesbackandthetwoleasesterminated.Thus,therecouldbenoroomfortheheadlesseetoargue
thereafterthattheleaseshadnotbeendeterminedorthattherewasapositiveactofwaiverorforfeiturebythedefendantssomewherealongthe
line.Ifindeedtheheadlesseesstandwasthattheleasesonthedemisedpremiseshadnotbeendetermined,thenitwastheheadlesseewhohad
misledthedefendantsinto(a)thinkingthattheleaseshadbeensodetermined,andthen(b)actingonthatbasistotheirdetriment.Thehead
lesseewouldbeestoppedinlawfromclaimingthattherewasnownodeterminationoftheleases.

76.Subsequentvoluntarypaymentsbytheheadlessee,intendedforrentalarrears,couldnotalterthefactthatinlaw,thetenancieshadbeen
determinedbyagreementoftheparties.Obviouslytherewasnowaythatthedefendantscouldstoptheheadlesseefromdroppingcheques
drawn in favour of the defendants into the quick cheque deposit box in the hope of reviving the terminated tenancies. These payments in,
whetherforrentalarrears,damagesorotherwise,couldnotamounttoanywaiverofthelawfulforfeiturethathadoccurred.Norcouldthey
resurrectthetenanciesaftertheyhadbeendeterminedinthemannerexplained.Theheadlesseecouldnotbeallowedtoblowhotandcold.The
writofpossessionhadbeenissuedandservedontheheadlesseelongbefore,andaccordingtotheauthorities,nosubsequentacts,including
acceptanceofrentsthereafter,couldwaivethatfinalelectionmadebythelandlordtoreenterandforfeittheleases.

77.Infact,thesolicitorsforthedefendantssubsequentlymadequiteclearintheirletterof14February2000(thedayimmediatelyprecedingthe
reentry) to the head lessees solicitors that subsequent payments received after the date of issue of the writ would be regarded as payment
towardsarrearsofrentand/ordamageswithoutaffectingthedeterminationofthetwoleases.Thedefendantssolicitorswiselynotedinthe
sameletterthattheheadlesseehadinhisdefenceconceded(a)liabilityforthearrearsofrentand(b)thatthetenancyagreementshadbeen
determined.

78.Inessence,thisletterconfirmedthedeterminationofthetenanciesasagreed.Itwasalsofairlyobviousfromwhatwasstatedthereinthatthe
withholdingoftherefundoftherentaldepositsbythedefendantswasneveronthebasisthatthetenancieswereintendedtocontinue,butthat
therefundswouldbetemporarilywithheldandpaidoveronlyafterdeliveryofvacantpossessionsubjecttoanybreachesundertheleasesfor
whichthedefendantswouldbeentitledtomakedeductionsfromthedepositheldbeforeitsrefund.

79.Itmustbepointedoutthatasofthisdate,thedefendantswerestillunawarethattheheadlesseehaddepositeddirectlyintothedefendants
jointDBSaccountasumof$10,800on8February2000,andanothersumof$21,600on12February2000withtheintentionofcoveringthe
3monthsarrearsofrental(i.e.December1999,JanuaryandFebruary2000)forthe1st storeyunits.On12February2000,theheadlessee
depositedafurthersumof$2,000sufficienttocovertheoverduerentalforDecember1999butnottheJanuaryandFebruary2000arrearsfor

nd
the2nd storeyunit.Ifoneweretotreatthese3unitsasawhole,onecouldnotsaythattherewerenoarrearswhatsoeveroutstandingasatthe
criticaldate15February2000,thedateoftheallegedtrespass.Asofthatdate,therentforthe2nd storeyunitremainedinarrearsdespitethe
flurryoflastminutedepositsintothedefendantsjointbankaccounttoavoidforfeitureunderthetermsoftheleases.

80.Inanycase,MrSngSoonHengtestifiedthatitwasonlylater,onoraboutthe15February2000,thathefirstknewofthisdepositof
$10,800.Asfortheotherdepositsof$21,600and$2,000,helearntofthemonorabout17or18February2000.Hiswifeinformedhim.His
wife would check with the bank once a week to find out if there was any payment from the head lessee after the rentals began falling into
arrears.AstherewasnochallengebyMrAndrewEe,IacceptedMrSngsevidenceonthis.Thismeantthatasof14February2000,whenthe
defendantssolicitorswrotetothesolicitorsfortheheadlessee,thedefendantswereunawareofthefreshpaymentsmade.

81.Grantedthatthedefendantshadnotreturnedthepaymentsafterlearningofthefreshdeposits,neverthelessthesepayments(on8and12
February2000)ofthearrearsofrentbytheheadlessee,evenifacceptedasrentandnotasmesneprofitsordamages,couldnotbesufficientin
lawtoconstituteawaiverofthereentryandforfeiture.Inmyjudgment,theycamemuchtoolateaftertheissueandserviceofthewritof
possessionontheheadtenanton21January2000.SeeCivilServiceCooperativeSocietyvMcGrigorsTrustee[1923]2Ch347andEvansv.
Enever[1920]2K.B.315,wherenosubsequentactsofthelessorcouldbereliedupontoqualifythelessorsirrevocableelectiontodetermine
theleasebywayofanactionforrecoveryofpossession.

82.MrEereliedonPiersonvHarvey(1885)1T.L.R.430wherethetenanthadalsobeenpayingrentdirectlyintothelandlordsbankaccount.
Whenthelandlorddiscoveredthebreachofthecovenantnottosublet,hecommencedactiontorecoverpossession.Withoutgivingnoticeto
tenant,thelandlordinstructedthebanknotacceptfurtherchequesfromthetenant.Thebankinadvertentlyallowedonechequetobepaidon9
July1884fortherentdueattheendofJune1884.Thelandlordwasnotawareofthisuntil21October1884,buthedidnotreturnthemoney.
Itwasheldthatreceivingrentunderprotestmadenodifference.Thelandlordhadnotgivennoticetotenantthathedidnotintendtoreceivethe
rent.Sincehehadreceivedtherent,hehadthereforewaivedtheforfeiture.

83.IdeclinedtofollowPiersonvHarveyifitwasmeanttosubstantiatethepropositionthatpayment(intendedtoberentbythetenant)after
serviceofthewritofpossessiononthetenantcouldwaivetheforfeiturereliedoninthewrit.Inmyview,thelandlordisperfectlyentitled,after
thedateofissueofthewrit,toreceivepaymenttowardsarrearsofrent,mesneprofitsordamagesasclaimedinthewritwithoutprejudicing
theirforfeitureoftheleaseconsequentuponthenotionalreentrybyservingthewrit.Thiswasexactlywhatthedefendantssolicitorshadstated
intheirletterdated14February2000astothecharacterwithwhichthedefendantswouldbeacceptingthepaymentsfromtheheadlessee.The
landlordsactsofreceivingthepaymentsafterthedateofissueofthewrit,andafortioriafterthedateofserviceofthewrit,couldnotgiverise
toanywaiver,thefinalelectiontoforfeithavingirrevocablytakenplace.

84. Although the previous agreed method of payment was banking directly into the defendants joint bank account by way of cheques,
neverthelessthecircumstanceshadchangedsomuchandwiththedisputenowinthehandsofsolicitors,themostappropriatemodeofpayment
inmyviewshouldhavebeentothedefendantssolicitors.Thuswhenthedefendantswenttothepremiseson15February2000tonotifythe
subtenantstovacate,theyactedbonafideinthebeliefthat(a)bothtenancieshadbeendetermined,(b)theheadlesseehadhimselfagreedtoit,
and (c) the rental arrears had continued to remain outstanding to the best of their knowledge at that time. Furthermore, they had found
prospectivetenants,whohadagreedtoleasethepremisessubjecttotheformalcontractbeingfinalised.

85. The head lessee could not revive those forfeited leases by payment of rental arrears or rents due in the way he did after the writ of
possessionhadbeenissuedandserved.Hecouldonlyapplytothecourttogranthimreliefagainstforfeiturebutonlyafterfullysettlingallthe
arrearsofrent.

Wasthephysicalreentrypeaceablydone?

86.Afterthedefendantshadreenteredon15February2000andregainedpossessionofthepremiseson16February2000,thesecretaryof
theplaintiffs,MrNordinbinMohd,wrotealetterdated17February2000toprotestthereentry,statingthatMrTohTengSenghadcomewith
fiveothermentothreatenandintimidatethem.Inspiteoftheirprotests,MrTohhadpulleddownthedoorrailandlockedupthepremises,
therebypreventingthemandotherstallholdersfromcarryingontheirbusiness.

87.Coincidentallyonthesameday,theheadlesseessolicitorsalsofiledanamendeddefence,whichresiledfromthepositionstatedintheir
earlierdefencefiledon3February2000.Thesignificantpartoftheearlierdefencewhichdeterminationhastakenplaceupontheissueofthe
PlaintiffsWritinthispresentactionwasdeleted.Itwouldappearthatboththeheadlesseeandplaintiffshaddecidedthatitwasnecessaryto
change tact and treat the leases as subsisting. In my view it was much too late after the head lessee had unequivocally intimated to the
defendantsthattheleaseshadbeendeterminedandthedefendantshad,videtheirreplytothedefencedated11February2000andtheirletter
dated14February2000,acceptedthatrepudiatorydetermination,andhadactedonittotheirdetriment.

88.Whatwasperplexingwasthattheheadlesseecontinuedtomaintainhiscounterclaimforthesumof$32,400beingtherentaldepositsheld
bythedefendantsandatthesametimeprayedforanorderthattheleasesbenotforfeitedbutdocontinuetobeinforceandeffect.Ifthehead
lessee wanted to turn round and assert instead that the lease was to continue, then it would be inconsistent to mount a counterclaim for the
refundoftherentaldeposit.Havingallowedmatterstorunsofardowntheroad,andwiththereentry/forfeiturehavingtakenplaceandnew
tenants given possession of the premises for renovation works, the head lessee including his sublessees obviously could not be allowed
unilaterallytotakeadifferentpositionnowi.e.thattherewasnodeterminationofthetenanciesatallandhence,thereentrywasatrespassby
thedefendants.

89.Inanyevent,thereappearedtobeaconcertedactionbytheheadlesseeandhissublessees,bothrepresentedbythesamesetofsolicitors,
AndrewEe&Co.,tosavetheheadleases.Inmyview,itwastoolatebecauselawfulandpeaceableentryhadtakenplace.Therecouldbeno
trespassinlaw.Theonlywaytosavethetenancieswasfortheheadlesseeorhissublesseestoapplyforreliefagainstforfeiture.Untilthecourt
grantsequitablerelief,theownerisentitledtoproceedwithfindingareplacementtenant,buthewillruntheriskofdisengagingfromanynew
tenancyenteredintoshouldthecourtsubsequentlyorderreliefagainstforfeitureofthetenancies.

90. At the hearing, I asked Mr Nordin bin Mohd to explain how the defendants had threatened and intimated them. He testified that on 15
February 2000, the defendants entered the premises. Mr Toh Teng Seng told the stallholders including the plaintiffs to vacate the premises
within24hours.NrNordinaskedMrTohwhetherhehadanypapers,lettersofauthorityorcourtdocuments.MrNordinsaidthatMrToh
actedarrogantlyandshoutedatthem,tellingthemtotalktotheirlawyers.However,MrSngSoonHengbehavedwellaccordingtoMrNordin.
Onthe16February2000,MrNordinwitnessedtheclosureofthepremisesbyMrTohandhismen.MrNordintestifiedthattheyleftatonce
becausetheyfeltembarrassedwiththewholesituation.

91.Inanyactofreentryorrepossessionbythelandlord,theoccupantsmayhavetofacesomeembarrassment.Thisisunavoidable.Clearly,
theplaintiffsdecidedtomoveoutthemselvesbecauseoftheirownembarrassment,whichMrNordinadmittedinhisevidence.Therewasno
evidencethattheywereforcedoutofthepremisesbyphysicalforceorthreatsofviolenceofanykindbythedefendants.NeithercouldIregard
tellingtheoccupierstospeaktotheirlawyersasathreat,eventhoughMrTohmighthavetoldthemtodosoinaloudvoice.Finally,MrNordin
admittedonoathincourtthatthedefendantsinfactdidnotintimidatethemorthreatenthem,contrarytowhathehadearlierstatedinhisletter.

92.AccordingtoMrSngSoonHeng,theoccupierswereinformedon15February2000thattheheadlesseewantedtosurrenderthepremises.
He told them to cease business and look for the head lessee. They then changed some of the locks and said that they would lock up the
premisesthefollowingday.HealsopersonallyspoketoMrNordinandtoldhimthattheheadlesseedidnotwantthepremisesandthathe
wantedtotakepossessionofthepremises.Whenaskediftheyhadanycourtorder,MrSngrepliedthathedidnothaveany.MrSngthen
mentionedthattheheadlesseehadinformedhimthatMrNordinhimselfwasinarrearsofrentalfor4months.MrNordinkeptquiet.MrSng
told Mr Nordin that he knew very well why the matter ended up that way. The contents of this conversation with Mr Nordin were not
challenged.

93.Fromthetotalityoftheevidence,Iconcludedthatthereentrywaslargelypeaceful,andtheplaintiffsleftoftheirownaccordduetotheir
own embarrassment more than anything else. The head lessee was nowhere to be seen during the reentry on 15 February 2000 and re
possessionbythedefendantsonthe16February2000.

94.Inmyjudgment,thefactthatthedefendantshadcommencedanactionforrecoveryofpossessiondidnotprecludeselfhelpremediesto
recover the premises by themselves if done peaceably. It did not mean that they had to wait for judgment for possession before they could
physicallyreenter.Ifthesubtenantsandtenantsrefusedtomoveout,thenthedefendantsshouldnotforciblyremovethetenants,unlessthey
didnotmindriskingthepenaltiesprescribedunderthecriminallaw.Acourtjudgmentforpossessionwouldthenberequiredtocompelthe
subtenantsandtenantstosurrenderpossession.Butifthesubtenants,whetherunderprotestornot,decidetomoveoutuponbeingtoldtodo
so,thelandlordswouldhavesucceededinrecoveringphysicalpossession.Oncepossessionissurrendered,theevictedtenantsorsubtenants
cannot remove the landlords unless they succeed in obtaining relief against forfeiture. If the landlords decide to allow the tenants to regain
possessionandcontinuethelease,thenitissuperfluoustocometocourttoobtainreliefagainstforfeiture.

95.IacceptedthesubmissionofMrSinghthatonaccountoftheheadlesseehavingstatedunequivocallythatthetenancyofthepremiseshad
beendetermined,thedefendantsproceededtomitigatetheirlossbylookingfornewtenants.Ifindeedtheplaintiffssufferedanylossasaresult
ofthefailureoftheheadtenanttopaytherentinthemannercovenanted,whichdirectlyresultedinthelandlordsforfeitureofthetwohead
leases,thentheyoughttolooktotheheadtenantinsteadandnottothedefendants.

NewTenants

96. Mr Ee on the other hand tried to portray the defendants as greedy landlords who chased out the plaintiffs after they found new tenants
willingtopayahigherrenttothem.

97. It could not be denied that the defendants were having difficulties collecting rent from the head lessee since November 1999. Their
frustrationsmusthaveledthemtofilethewriton13December1999andfinallytoserveiton21January2000.Inthesecircumstances,itwas
perfectlyreasonableforthedefendantstolookfornewtenantstomitigatetheirlossandtominimisetheperiodthattheirpremiseswouldbeleft
vacantwithoutatenant.Ifanythingatall,itshowedtheirintentionanddeterminationtoendthetwoleases.Thedefendantswereclearlynot
interestedincontinuingtheirtenancieswiththeheadlesseeatall.Nowaivercouldarisefromtheirconduct.Inanyevent,thecorrespondence
withthenewtenantsclearlyprovedthatthewritwasinfactissuedlongbeforeanynewtenancyagreementwasconcluded.Anysuggestionof
ulteriormotiveonthepartofthedefendantswaswithoutbasis.
98. I observed with some interest that the defendants solicitors were careful to stipulate in their letter dated 8 February 2000 to Rodyk &
Davidson, the solicitors for the prospective tenants Mdm Fariday and Mr Amin Awall, that all necessary approvals from the Urban
RedevelopmentAuthority(URA)andotherrelevantauthoritiesthatwererequiredfortheuseofthepremisesasaneatinghouseweretobe
appliedforandobtainedbytheirclientsattheirowncostandexpense.Fromtheexchangeofletters,itwouldappearthatboththedefendants
andtheirprospectivetenantswerekeenlyawareoftheneedtoobtainapprovalfromtheURAforchangeofuseofthetwounitsonthe1st
storeytothatofeatinghousebeforethepremisescouldbeusedassuch.

99.Whentheprospectivetenantsagreedthattheywerepreparedtorentthepremisesfor4yearsfrom19February2000to18February2004,
theyforwardedachequeon15February2000for$90,000comprising6monthsrentaldeposittothedefendantssolicitors.The1st monthsrent
wasfree.Therentwas$12,800p.m.forthenext6monthsandthereafterat$15,000p.m.

100. On the same day i.e. 15 February 2000, the defendants went to the premises to inform the occupiers to vacate the premises. On the
followingday,16February2000,thedefendantsexercisedtheirrighttorepossessthepremisesandlockedupthepremises.Onoraboutthe
sameday,thekeyswerehandedovertothenewtenantstoallowthemtocommencerenovationwork.

101. After securing possession of the premises, the defendants solicitors wrote to Rodyk & Davidson on 17 February 2000 that the new
tenancywassubjecttotherelevantauthoritiesapprovalforchangeofuseofthe1st storeyunitstoaneatinghouse.Intheeventthatthiswasnot
approved, the intended tenancy would not be proceeded with. The defendants eventually agreed to undertake the application to the relevant
authoritiesforthesaidchangeofuse.

102.ThenewtenancyagreementwithMdmFaridayandMrAminAwall(tradingunderthenameof"Black&WhiteGrillLtd.")wasfinally
signed on 23 February 2000. The new tenancy agreement contained detailed provisions for disengagement in the event that the necessary
approvalswerenotobtained.Thisshowedthatthedefendantshadactedprudentlytoobtainlegalpossessionfirstbeforetheyproceededtosign
thenewtenancyagreementsubjecttocertaintermsandnecessaryapprovals.Theywerenotpreparedtobreakthelawandallowtheirtenantsto
operateanunapprovedandillegaleatinghouseontheirpremises.

103. The use of the premises as an eating house without planning approval of the URA will contravene the Planning Act (Cap.232). See
section14(7)readwithSections3(1),12,13and14.Thepenaltiesaresevere:afinenotexceeding$200,000,andinthecaseofacontinuing
offence,afurtherfinenotexceeding$10,000foreverydayorpartthereofduringwhichtheoffencecontinues.

104.IntheprocessofapplyingforplanningpermissionfromtheURA,thedefendantsdiscoveredthatneithertheheadlesseenortheplaintiffs
hadthemselvesanyplanningpermissiontooperatethepremisesasaneatinghouse.Notonlywasthereabreachoftheheadleaseandsublease,
itwasalsoinviolationofthePlanningAct.Thiswillbeofsignificancewhenconsideringwhetherthedamagesclaimedbytheplaintiffshad
anymerit.

Damages

105.ShouldIbewrongtoconcludethattherewasnotrespass,Iwouldgoontoholdthattheplaintiffshadsufferednodamage.

106.WhenthecourtinDCSuitNo5500of1999grantedtheheadlesseerelieffromforfeitureon27March2000,andorderedthedefendants
to restore the premises to the head lessee, the defendants said they had done so promptly on 3 May 2000 by returning the keys, after their
appealwasdismissedon25April2000.ButtheheadlesseerejectedthekeysuntilhewasorderedbythecourtinHighCourtSuitNo315of
2000 to retake possession of the premises. Since then, the plaintiffs had not resumed their food business on the premises. Yet they were
claimingdamagesonthebasisthattheycouldhavebeencontinuingtheirfoodbusinesstilltheendoftheirsubleaseintheyear2003.

107.Iftherewasindeedanytrespass,theassessmentofdamagesmustbeconfinedtothelossincludingdirectconsequentiallosscausedbythe
defendants occupation for the short period of 2 months from 16 February 2000 to 3 May 2000. Loss too remote or not traceable to the
defendantssaidoccupationmustbeexcluded.

Restrictionsonuseofthepremisesintheheadlease

108.Clause1oftheheadleaseofthe1st storeyunitsspecificallystatesthatthelandlordsletandthetenanttakesallthetwoshophouses.
Thesewordsimplythatthepremiseswerespecificallyrentedoutasshophousesandnotaseatinghousesorcoffeeshops.Buttheplaintiffs
wereusingthe1st storeyunitsasaneatinghouseoracafcontrarytotheprovisionsoftheheadlease.

109.Clause2(e)oftheheadleasemoreoverstipulatesthat:
2.Thetenantherebyagreeswiththelandlordasfollows:

(e)Notwithoutfirstobtainingthelandlordsconsentandallpermissionsandconsentsrequired
bylawtocauseorpermitatanytimeduringthetenancyanysuchmaterialchangeinthe
userofthepremisesasmaybedeemedtoamounttodevelopmentwithinthemeaningof
thePlanningActofSingaporeoranystatutorymodificationorreenactmentthereof

URAPlanningApproval

110.MrAyobAliBharoocha,theelectedchairmanoftheplaintiffs,admittedthatthecommitteerunningtheplaintiffswasnotawareasafact
thatplanningapprovalfromURAwasrequiredbeforethepremisescouldbeoperatedasaneatinghouse.Sincetheytookoveranexisting
eatinghouse,theyassumedthatalltheyneededwasafoodshoplicencefromtheMinistryofEnvironment,whichtheyhad.MrSinghshowed
him an application form for a licence under the Environment Public Health Act (Cap 95), where the applicant had to confirm that planning
approvalfromChiefPlanner,URAhadbeenobtainedorappliedfor.AllMrAyobwaspreparedtosaywasthatherememberedfillingupa
formwhenapplyingforthefoodshoplicencebuthecouldnotspecificallyrememberwhetherhehadmadesuchastatementtotheMinistryof
Environment.Finally,heconcededthathisfoodlicencewouldbesubjecttoURAsplanningapproval.

111.MrAyobadmittedthattheplaintiffsneverappliedforanyplanningapprovalfromURA.However,sincetheytookoveranexistingfood
business,therecouldbeanexistingURAplanningapprovalforsuchuse.Whatcouldnotbedisputedwasthatthegrantofwrittenpermission
fromURAgiventotheheadlessee(whowasalsoMrNgTiongKiatatthattime)forchangeofuseofthe1st storeyunits(froma1st storey
shopatNo357andaveterinaryclinicatNo359)toaneatinghousewasforaperiodonlyupto18January1993,whereuponthewritten
permissionwouldlapseunlessfurtherwrittenpermissionwasgranted.

112.URAsreplydated25February2000toarecentlegalrequisitionclearlyshowedthatthetemporarypermissionforuseofthesaidtwo
unitsasaneatinghousehadinfactlapsedon18January1993andtherewasnofurtherwrittenpermissiongrantedtotheheadlessee.Ifound
thereforethatneithertheheadlessee,northeplaintiffsasthesubtenants,hadanyURAapprovaltousethepremisesasaneatinghouseafter18
January1993.Further,theobligationtoobtainallpermissionsorconsentsrequiredbylawforanymaterialchangeinuseofthepremiseshad
alwaysbeenthatoftheheadlesseeunderclause2(e)oftheheadlesseesleaseagreementwiththeformerowners,andalsounderclause2(e)
ofthesubtenantssubleaseagreementwiththeheadlessee,whichwasassignedtotheplaintiffs.

113.Infact,thedefendantsthemselvesappliedon1March2000totheURAforchangeofusetoaneatinghouse.On24March2000,the
URAreplied(seeD1)refusingpermissionunderSection14(4)ofthePlanningAct(Cap232,1998Ed)forthepremisesonthe1ststoreyto
beoperatedasaneatinghousebecauseitwouldaffecttheamenityoftheresidentialareaintermsofcarparkingandtraffic.Therefusalhad
nothingtodowithanyinternallayoutorstructuralalterationsofthefoodstallsorfacilitiesattheeatinghousebythenewtenant.Hence,any
attemptbytheplaintiffstobolstertheirclaimfordamagesonasuppositionthattheURAwouldextendtheirtemporarypermissiongranted
earlierhadtherebeennorenovations,wouldnotgoveryfar.AsecondattemptinJune2000toobtainpermissionwassimilarlyrejectedforthe
same reason (see D2). In the legal requisition from the URA (see D3), the premises had been zoned as Residential with commercial at 1st
storeyonlyinthe1998MasterPlanZoning.

114. But the plaintiffs in their claim adduced evidence of damage and loss grounded almost entirely on the prohibited use of the 1st storey
premisesasaneatinghouse.Howtheplaintiffs,asadvisedbyhissolicitors,couldexpectthecourttograntanawardofdamagesonthatbasis
was something that I could not comprehend. It would be tantamount to a dissatisfied tenant, having used the premises as an illegal betting
house,bringingforthaclaimagainstthelessorfordamagesfortrespasscomputedonthebasisofadisruptiontohisillegalbettingactivities
andtheconsequentlossofhislucrativeprofits.Obviously,aclaimfordamageofsuchnaturebasedonanillegalmodeofperformanceoran
illegalbusinesswasnotlegitimate.Acourtwillnotassistaclaimanttomakegoodtheshortfallofhisillgottenprofitsbywayofanawardof
damagesorotherwise.

115.Ifindeedtheplaintiffswereseriousinthinkingthattheywereentitledtooperateatthe1st storeypremisesasaneatinghouse,therewould
have been no reason for them to surrender their foodshop licence to the Ministry of Environment on 10 July 2000 after their head lessee
managedtoobtainanorderofreliefagainstforfeitureoftheheadleasesasearlyas27March2000.Afterthedefendantsappealwasdismissed
on 25 April 2000, the defendants had promptly 8 days later, on 3 May 2000, forwarded the keys to the head lessees solicitors for onward
transmissiontotheirclient.Ifounditmostsurprisingthattheplaintiffsshouldsurrendertheirfoodshoplicencethereafter.Itwasobvioustome
thattheplaintiffsrealisedbynowthattheycouldnotpossiblycarryonacoffeeshoporacafbusinessatthepremiseslegallywithoutURA
approval.

116.Unfortunately,therewasfurtherdisputebetweentheheadlesseeandthedefendantswheretheheadlesseeinsistedonhavingthepremises
restoredtotheiroriginalunrenovatedconditionandrefusedtoacceptthekeys,resultinginastringofsuitsandcourtapplicationsthatneednot
concernushere.Theinabilityoftheplaintiffstoreenterafter2May2000wasthereforenotcausedbythedefendantsbutbytheheadlesseein
refusingtoacceptthekeysreturnedbythedefendantsuntiltheheadlesseewascompelledtodosobythecourt.

117.Whateveritwas,itwasabsolutelyclearthattheURAwasnotgoingtograntanypermissionforthepremisestobeoperatedasaneating
house.Theentirecommercialobjectiveoftheplaintiffssubleaseofthepremiseshadbeenfrustrated.Icouldnotseewhytherenovatedand
improvedpremisescouldnolongerberunasaneatinghouse(ifnotmoreprofitably),withoutrestorationtoitsformerstate,unlessofcourse,
therewasnoprospectofapprovalasaneatinghousebyURA.Ifindeedtheonlywaywastorenovatethepremisesintoashophouseoroffice
orsomeotherusefulcommercialpremisesasallowedbyURA,thentherenovatedeatinghouseortheunrenovatedProtaxCafwouldhaveto
bedemolishedineitherevent.InconvertingthepremisestoashophouseoranofficeorsomeothercommercialpremisesthattheURAmight
approve,theoldfoodstallsmuststillbedemolishedandrenovationsmuststillbecarriedout.Hence,theinvestmentsunkinbyProtaxintaking
overthefoodstallsfromtheprevioussublesseewouldnotberecoverableinanyevent.Ithusfoundthatnodamagewhatsoeverhadresulted
fromtherenovationofthecoffeeshopatthe1st storeypremises.

118. In any event, the head lessee had in breach of clause 2 (e) of the lease agreement dated 1 Jun 1997 and in complete disregard of the
provisionsofthePlanningActallowedthe1st storeyunitstobeusedasaneatinghouse,whichheshouldnot.Theheadlesseewouldhave
knownthattheearliertemporaryURAapprovalhadlapsed.HewouldknowthatheneededtoapplyforURAapprovalashehimselfmadethe
earlierapplicationforchangeofusetoaneatinghouse,forwhichonlyapprovalforalimitedperiodwasgranted.Therefore,therewasinlaw
sufficientbasisforthedefendantstoexercisetheirrightofreentryandtodeterminetheleaseunderclause4(a)oftheleaseduetothehead
lesseesneglecttoobserveClause4(e)ofthelease,quiteapartfromtheissueofnonpaymentofrentalforthepremises,althoughnoticefor
such a breach must first be given under Section 18 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act before the right of reentry or forfeiture
pursuanttosuchabreachcouldbeexercised.

Plaintiffsclaimforlossofortrespasstotheirgoods

119.Inmyview,theclaimforlossofortrespasstochattelswasunfounded.

120.MdmNorsiahBinteHajiAbdulSamattestifiedthattheplaintiffshadbroughtalorrytoremovetheirbelongings.Theyalsowenttothe
2nd storey unit totaketheirthingsaway.Ifoundcorroboration from the fact that the plaintiffs could tender into court a book of records as
evidenceoftheirearningsfromthevariousstallspurportedlyrunbythem.Iftheyhadnotremovedtheirbelongingsandjustleftthepremises,
how could they produce those records? According to Mdm Norsiah, the other stallholders also removed their belongings. Certain chillers,
coffeeboilers,tablesandchairssuppliedonrentalbasisweretakenbackbythesuppliers.Sheappearedtometobeforthrightinhertestimony.
Ibelievedher.

121.Clearly,theplaintiffswerenotdeprivedoftheopportunitytoremoveanybelongingstheywantedbeforethenewtenantsofthedefendants
startedtheirrenovations.Ididnotthinkthenewtenantsnorthedefendantswouldbeinterestedinanyoftheoldanduseditemsleftbehind.The
formerstallsweretotallydemolished.Thepremisesweregivenatotallydifferentandmodernlook.

122.Whenthepremiseswererepossessed,theplaintiffsneveroncecomplainedthattheyweredeprivedoftheirchattelsandtheirequipment.
Therewasnoevidencetoshowthattheytriedtoretrievetheirchattelsandequipmentafterthe16February2000butwerepreventedbythenew
tenantsorthedefendants.Thecorrespondenceexhibitedmerelyshowedthattheywantedtohavethepremisesback.

123.AccordingtoMrAdminBinAwall,noitemsofanysignificantvaluewereleftbehindbytheplaintiffs.

124.FromtheevidenceofMrTohTengSeng,itappearedtomethatthedefendantswereveryreasonableandaccommodating.Whentheroti
prataselleraskedhimforoneweektoremovehisthingsfromhisroomonthesecondstorey,MrTohsaidthathetelephonedthenewtenants
fortheirpermissionandtheyagreed.Itdidnotseemtomethatthedefendantswouldhaveanyinterestinrefusinganyonepermissiontoremove
theirbelongings.Iimaginethatitwouldhavemadeitmoredifficultforthedefendantstopersuadethesestallholderstovacatethepremiseshad
theydoneso.FromthespontaneityofMrTohsevidenceonhowhewentoutofhiswaytotrytohelptherotipratastallholderfinishsellinghis
rotipratabyeatingrotipratahimself,gettinghisworkerstodothesameandofferingtopayforit,itdidnotappeartomethathehadacted
harshly towards the stallholders. More likely than not, the stallholders were given sufficient opportunity to retrieve their possessions.
Thereafter,theyleftvoluntarilyandtherepossessionofthepremiseswaspeaceful.Icouldnotseewhythedefendantswouldnotaccordthe
samecourtesytothedefendantsifindeedtheyhadrequestedformoretimetoremovetheirbelongings.

125.Ifthetenantsorsubtenantsrefusedtotakestepstoremovetheirbelongingsafterreasonablenoticeandopportunityhadbeengiventothem
todoso,itwouldbetoolatenowtocomplainthattherewaslossofortrespasstotheirgoodsbythelandlorduponlawfulreentryandre
possessionofthepremises.Thereafter,thelandlordorhisagentswouldbeentitledtoremovethesegoodsordiscardthem.Thelandlordcannot
thenbeaccusedofcommittingtrespasstothegoodsleftbehindinthepremises.

126.IacceptedMrTohsevidencethattheyhadinfactlockedupthepremisesinaveryamicableway.Ialsoacceptedhisevidencethattheyhad
informedthestallholdersthatthekeystothecoffeeshopwouldbehandedovertothecontractorsandiftheywantedtoremoveanything,they
couldgetthecontractorstoopenthedoors.IbelievedMrSngsevidencethattheydidnottakeanyphotocopier,computer,equipmentorany
items of value from the premises. His evidence was that when they went upstairs on 16 February 2000, there was a mattress on the floor
belongingtoMrMohammadsellingrotiprota.Inanotherroomweretwochairs,atableandsomenewspapersonthefloor.Downstairswere
one or two refrigerators, kitchen utensils, two to three showcases, a few gas cylinders, bowls and plates and one signboard. He was not
interestedinthem.Iftheownerswantedtotakethem,theycould.Inmyview,itwouldbemucheasierforthecontractortodotherenovations
iftheownersoftheitemsweretoremovethem.Otherwise,thecontractorwouldbesaddledwiththeirdisposal.Theallegationoftheplaintiffs
thattheylosttheirgoodswasnotsubstantiatedbytheevidence.

Conclusion

127.Iconcludedthattheplaintiffshadremovedthebelongingsthattheywanted.Onlyitemsofinconsequentialvalueornonreusableitemslike
theProtaxCafsignboardwereleftbehind.Ididnotfindanyevidenceofunlawfultaking,removingordamagingofgoodsbelongingtothe
plaintiffsbythedefendantsortheiragentsactingattheirbehest.Theplaintiffsfailedtoproveanylegitimatedamage.Theyalsodidnotprove
thattheycouldhaveobtainedURAapprovaltorunthepremisesasaneatinghouse.Theydidnotshowthattheycouldhavenettedaprofitif
thepremisesweremerelyusedasanordinaryofficeorashophousewhilehavingtopaythehefty$16,000p.m.rentontheirsubleasetothe
headlessee.Noevidencewhatsoeverinthisdirectionwasadduced.Thatburdenrestedwiththem,whichtheyfailedtodischarge.

128.Accordingly,Idismissedtheplaintiffsclaimwithcoststobetaxedifnotagreed.

ChanSengOnn

JudicialCommissioner

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