Last edited 07 Jan 2021

Privity of title

Privity is the relationship between parties which results from them participating in the same transaction or occurrence. Privity of title, also referred to as privity of estate, is the legal relationship between two or more parties who share an interest in the same estate/property. That is, when the parties’ estates constitute one estate in law.

In contrast with a privity of contract, privity of title involves rights and duties that run with the land. The privity of title binds both parties to the terms of any covenants that run with the land, but only for as long as the privity continues.

A common example of privity of title is the relationship between landlord and tenant. The privity of title, or tenancy, cannot usually be transferred by a tenant without the consent of the landlord. On coming into a privity of title, an assignee is liable only for the period that they are in possession under the assignment (i.e. when they are the legal assignee). Therefore, on obtaining the privity of title, the assignee is liable to the landlord for rent payments and the breach of any covenants, while the landlord is liable to the assignee for the covenant of quiet enjoyment, and so on.

The original tenant, on assigning their interest in the lease, has their privity of title terminated while their privity of contract is retained. They end their right to possession but, unless there is an agreement otherwise, their liability under the lease continues.

If the tenant sublets to a third party this establishes both a privity of title and privity of contract between the new leasehold estate of the tenant and sub-tenant, but not between the sub-tenant and the landlord. The original tenant retains privity of title with the landlord.

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