Joint Tenancy Hypo

By Kerry Branch

Lucy and Ricky were joint tenants with rights of survivorship. They co-owned Club Babaloo where Ricky performed with his band. One day, when Ricky was out at the club practicing, Artie Shaw showed up at Lucy's door.

"Hi. I'd like to lease Club Babaloo. I understand it's really popular and I need a place to set up for a year with my band to get our act together."

Lucy hesitated. "Oh, gee, Mr. Shaw, I'd love to help but I don't know. Ricky might not be too happy about this."

"Oh, I'll pay. Very well." He whispered a large amount to Lucy.

Lucy's eyes widened. "Where do I sign?!? Gimme the pen, gimme the pen!"

Artie produced a contract for a year lease. Lucy quickly signed. Artie hesitated before putting the contract up and asked, "Do you own the club? Just you? No one else?"

"Oh, Ricky and I both own it together. Something about survivors and rights and joint. Something like that. That's not bad, is it?" Lucy asked anxiously.

"No, don't worry. I can fix it." He quickly amended the contract to read "Mrs. Ricardo hereby severs her joint tenancy with rights of survivorship in favor of a tenancy in common." Artie put the contract away without showing the change to Lucy. "Everything's set now."

"Okay." All Lucy could think about were the new hats and dresses she could buy with the money.

Needless to say, Ricky wasn't happy when he found out in Variety that Artie Shaw had rented Club Babaloo.

"Luuuucccccyyyy!!!" Ricky shouted. "What did you do here? What were you thinking? Where am I supposed to play? How am I going to make any money?"

"Well, Mr. Shaw offered a lot of rent."

"That's nothing compared to the value of the place! How many times have I told you that you count your hatched chickens in your hand more than those eggs in the basket?"


"Never mind. Well, maybe I can find another place but I still need to practice there."

So Ricky went down to the club the next day (the first day of the lease) to practice with his band. Artie saw him setting up and stopped him.

"I'm sorry, Ricky, but this is may place now. I need to practice with my band. You'll have to leave."

"I can't leave. This is my place too, you know. I always practice here. Where else am I going to practice?"

"I don't know, but you can't practice here." Artie made Ricky take his band and leave so that Artie's band could practice.

Does Ricky have a cause of action for ejectment? Can Artie enforce the lease?

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