Actions in Trespass
The case of Eaton Mansions (Westminster) Ltd v Stinger Compania De Inversion S.A.  EWCA Civ 1308 concerned the unlawful installation by the tenant of air conditioning units on the roof of a block of flats in Belgravia. The landlord commenced an action for an injunction to remove the units and damages for trespass. Following the summary determination of the claim in the landlord’s favour, damages were awarded in the sum of £6000 for a year’s trespass together with £1716 for removal of the air conditioning units. The landlord appealed seeking damages totalling around £300,000 upon the basis of previously established precedent which provided for damages to be assessed with reference to the potential gain the trespasser would have received from their trespass, citing an increase in value of the flat due to the air conditioning. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal stating that the basis for assessment of damages for trespass was not the potential gain of the trespasser rather the likely cost to the trespasser in obtaining permission or a licence for the period of the trespass. In the circumstances, the court considered that the licence to install the air conditioning units for 12 months would be appropriately set at £6000.
This case demonstrates the change in position of the courts in the assessment of damages for trespass. At Benchmark Solicitors we can advise you on all matters concerning unlawful occupation or trespass upon land or property.