equitable lease

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An agreement for the grant of an interest in land on terms that correspond to a legal lease but do not comply with the necessary formal requirements of a legal lease. For example, if L purports to grant T a lease for seven years but the transaction is effected by simple written contract to grant a lease rather than by deed, the court may enforce the contract to grant the lease between the parties. This follows the principle that “equity looks upon that as done which ought to be done” (see maxims of equity) (Walsh v Lonsdale (1820) 21 Ch D 9). Further, T's rights under the contract could be registered as an estate contract and thus bind any third party acquiring L's interest in the land.

Subjects: Law.

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