Friday, November 29, 2013

Tenhet v. Boswell case brief

Tenhet v. Boswell case brief summary
554 P.2d 330 (Cal. 1976)

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of her action to have a lease declared invalid in the Superior Court of Kings County (California).

Plaintiff owned property as a joint tenant. Plaintiff's joint tenant leased the property without her knowledge and subsequently died. Plaintiff sought to have the lease declared invalid and the court dismissed her complaint.


  • On appeal, the court first found the partial alienation of the joint tenancy property by the lease did not effect a temporary or permanent severance of the joint tenancy. 
  • The court reasoned that because the joint tenancy estate arises only upon the intent of the parties, severance should be found only when circumstances established a clear and unambiguous intent of the parties to terminate. 
  • The court determined plaintiff took the property through right of survivorship. 
  • The court then found plaintiff took the property unencumbered by the lease because the interest of the non-surviving joint tenant who made the lease extinguished upon his death. 
  • Thus, the court concluded the lease expired when the lessor joint tenant died.

The court reversed the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint because she took the subject property unencumbered by the lease through joint tenancy right of survivorship and the lease expired upon the death of the lessor joint tenant.

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