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Colonial Cases

Lent v. Gilman, 1875

[landlord and tenant]

Lent v. Gilman

Source: The North China Herald, 8 April 1875




Shanghai, April 1st.

Before R. A. Mowat, Esq.


Claim $41.75

   This was a claim for the value of certain property (window and door hooks, has globes, etc.) missing from a house on the Bubbling Well Road, leased by plaintiff to defendant.

   Defendant denied his liability.

   WM. LENT, sworn, stated - On the 10th of March last, I leased my house on the Bubbling Well Road, to defendant, for 12 months.  I produce the lease.  Defendant gave notice on the 7th Nov. that he proposed to quit.  Under the terms of the lease, he was responsible for the house and fittings until the expiry of the lease.  From information I received, I visited the house in the middle of December, and found that the place was quite deserted, the gate open, the hall door and all the bedrooms, with the exception of two, unlocked.  I went all over the house and found no one in charge.  I visited defendant, and told him the state of affairs, and he promised to send some one to take charge at once.  On the 31st Dec., I again received information that the doors were all open, and no one in charge, and also that several globes had been taken off the gas burners.  I then wrote to the defendant (letter read) concerning it, to which he replied, and confirmed the fact that four globes were missing from the drawing-room.  He also mentioned that he wished to give up the house at once, in consideration of his paying the rent up to the 10th March 1875.  I did not accede to the proposition, but informed him that I held him responsible until the lease expired.  Matters so went on until the end of February, when I told defendant that I was willing to take over the house, of he was agreeable.  He agreed, and I therefore was twelve days in the house before the lease expired.  It did not occur to me then to ascertain if anything was missing.  I afterwards found that all the window and door hooks in the downstairs rooms, and one bedroom were gone, and eleven globes from the gas burners.  I had the articles replaced and sent the bills to defendant, who returned them to me.
   I purchased the globes from the Gas Company, and the hooks, &c., from Messrs. Lane, Crawfofrd & Co. ($31.75).  I also claim $3.000 for a window in the stable, and $7.00 for five hardwood stable bars.  I did not make any claim until the 10th of March last.

    Defendant objected to the claim, on the ground that Plaintiff had asked to come into the house before the lease had expired, to which he consented; therefore he considered that, as no claim was made at that time, plaintiff had waived it.  He admitted the matter of the globes, but if it had been pointed out to him by plaintiff then, so that he could have seen for himself, and had the opportunity of replacing the articles. There could have bee n no doubt as to his liability.  But as plain tiff had not done so top say the least, it was open to doubt.

    His HONOR expressed his opinion that there could be no reasonable doubt that the articles missed had been taken from the house when it was unprotected; therefore he would give judgment for plaintiff, for the amount claimed, but without costs, inasmuch as had the plaintiff had given notice to defendant of the missing articles when he resumed possession of the house, the defendant would never have disputed his liability, and thus there would have been no action.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School