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   Home      Central London Property Trust v High Trees House
Central London Property Trust v High Trees House [1947] KB 130 High Court

High Trees leased a block of flats from CLP at a ground rent of £2,500. It was a new block of flats at the time the lease was taken out in 1937. The defendant had difficulty in getting tenants for all the flats and the ground rent left High Trees with no profit. In 1940 many of the flats were still unoccupied and with the conditions of the war prevailing, it did not look as if there was to be any change to this situation in the near future. CLP agreed to reduce the rent to £1,250 during the war years. The agreement was put in writing and High Trees paid the reduced rent from 1941. When the war was over the flats became fully occupied and the claimant sought to return to the originally agreed rent.


The rent would be returned to the originally agreed price for the future only. CLP could not claim back the arrears accrued during the war years. This case is important as Denning J (as he then was) established the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Promissory estoppel prevented CLP going back on their promise to accept a lower rent despite the fact that the promise was unsupported by consideration.

Denning J "In my opinion, the time has now come for the validity of such a promise to be recognised. The logical consequence, no doubt is that a promise to accept a smaller sum in discharge of a larger sum, if acted upon, is binding notwithstanding the absence of consideration"


Back to lecture outline on promissory estoppel in Contract Law