Bank Of East Asia Ltd v Sn Choy

CourtDistrict Court (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date31 August 1946
Judgement NumberDCMP29/1946
Subject MatterMiscellaneous Proceedings






Bank of East Asia Ltd. Appellants


S. N. Choy Respondent

Coram: Mr. Justice E.H. Williams, Puisne Judge

Date of Judgment: 31 August 1946




1. This is an appeal from a decision of a Tenancy Tribunal given on 10th July, 1946, on the ground that the decision was wrong in law.

2. Application had been made to the Tribunal under Article 4 of the Landlord & Tenant Proclamation No.15 of 1946 to vary the rent of certain premises known as No.38/39 Praya, Kennedy Town, which are godowns.

3. The relevant section of the Article reads:-

" Any Tenancy Tribunal constituted hereunder may, subject "
" to any limitation which may be imposed by Regulation, "
" on the application of any Landlord, Prinoipal Tenant, "
" or Sub-Tenant "
" (a) Vary any rent payable under the provisions of "
" Article 2 hereof or any rent substituted, "
" apportioned or fixed by virtue of the powers "
" conferred in this Article; "

No regulations have, in fact, been passed making any limitations.

4. The reasons and facts in support of the application were, in brief, that the premises were shortly being de-requisitioned by Government and opponent desired to rent them. Both parties were agreed on a rental of $3,200 per month. This rent was an increase over the 1941, rental but in view of the fact that (a) the running expenses of applicants' business had risen considerably since 1941, (b) there was great demand for storage space, (c) storage charges in godowns including those under Government control, had been increased by four times since the re-occupation, the rent was considered fair by both parties.

5. At the hearing before the Tribunal it was admitted that the pre-war rent was $1,582; also that Government storage charges had not increased by as much as four times, the correct figure being from two to 2½ times. Solicitors for the applicant maintained that the proposed increase in rent would only increase the cost of commodities by a negligible amount; that as Government storage charges had increased it was only reasonable for a landlord to receive a corresponding increase, and that as the opponent was perfectly willing to pay the increase, and the power of the Tribunal to increase rent was unlimited, the Tribunal should grant the increase. The opponent confirmed that he was quite prepared and even anxious to pay the increase, considering it a justifiable one.

6. The Tribunal gave a considered judgment refusing the application, setting out at length its reasons for so doing. It is obvious that the members devoted great thought and care to the difficult question they were called on to decide. In brief they refused the application because they considered that the reasons given for the proposed increase were applicable to practically all business premises; if...

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