Kingsnorth Finance Co Ltd v Tizard

April 01, 2024
Micheal James

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Introduction to Kingsnorth Finance Co Ltd v Tizard

Kingsnorth Finance Co Ltd v Tizard [1986] is a landmark case in English land law, holding significant implications for the concept of notice in the context of property ownership and equitable interests. This case study delves into the details of the dispute, the legal question it raised, and its lasting impact on how lenders approach property transactions.


The case centered on a conflict between a married couple (Mr. and Mrs. Tizard) and a lending institution (Kingsnorth Finance). Here’s a breakdown of the situation:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Tizard purchased a property intended as their matrimonial home. However, a crucial detail emerged – the legal title to the property was registered solely in Mr. Tizard’s name, despite their joint purchase.
  • Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last. Mrs. Tizard moved out but continued to maintain a presence in the property. She returned daily to care for their children and occasionally spent the night when Mr. Tizard was away.
  • Unbeknownst to his wife, Mr. Tizard decided to obtain a loan from Kingsnorth Finance by mortgaging the property. During the application process, he misrepresented his marital status, claiming to be single. He further orchestrated the property inspection for a time when his wife and children would be absent, attempting to conceal their presence.
  • While the inspector did notice the presence of children’s toys, they found no evidence of Mrs. Tizard’s actual occupancy.


The central legal question in Kingsnorth Finance Co Ltd v Tizard hinged on the concept of notice:

  • Did Kingsnorth Finance, as the lender, have sufficient constructive notice of Mrs. Tizard’s equitable interest in the property, despite the sole legal ownership being registered in her husband’s name?

This case raised a critical question – should the lender have recognized Mrs. Tizard’s rights despite not being the legal owner based solely on registration documents?


The court delivered a judgment in favor of Mrs. Tizard. They held that Kingsnorth Finance took the property subject to her equitable interest. This meant that Mrs. Tizard’s rights as a spouse who contributed to the marital home were recognized, even though her name wasn’t on the legal title.


The court’s decision focused on the doctrine of notice and the lender’s obligation to conduct reasonable inquiries. Their reasoning revolved around the following points:

  • The discrepancy between Mr. Tizard’s statements about his marital status and the presence of children’s toys in the house should have prompted Kingsnorth Finance to investigate the possibility of another occupant residing in the property.
  • Mrs. Tizard’s daily visits to care for the children constituted “actual occupation” under the Land Registration Act. This daily presence established her potential claim to an equitable interest, putting the lender on notice.
  • Kingsnorth Finance failed to fulfill their duty to make reasonable inquiries. Scheduling the inspection at a pre-arranged time that excluded the possibility of encountering Mrs. Tizard demonstrated a lack of due diligence on the lender’s part.
  1. Significance

Kingsnorth Finance Co Ltd v Tizard stands as a significant case concerning the doctrine of notice in land law. It emphasizes the importance of lenders conducting thorough investigations and inquiries to identify potential equitable interests, even when the property is registered in only one name. The case highlights the limitations of relying solely on the land register information and underscores the need to consider the factual realities of a situation when assessing property ownership and rights.


Kingsnorth Finance Co Ltd v Tizard remains a vital case in land law. It clarifies the application of the doctrine of notice and the responsibilities of lenders to investigate potential equitable interests. The case emphasizes the importance of conducting due diligence and protecting the rights of those with legitimate claims to a property, ensuring a more equitable and balanced approach to property transactions.

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