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By J
07/11/2011

LVT round up

Work is, most frustratingly, getting in the way of blogging at the moment. I’d wanted to cover these LVT/leasehold property cases as they came out, but I failed. So, in order to get back on track, I’m going to do a bit of a round up of recent cases. It’s a bit cheeky, I know, but there we are

We come first to Hertsmere BC v Lovat [2011] EWCA Civ 1185. Now, even for me, this is a pretty obscure point. Under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, qualifying tenants of houses have the right to either acquire a new – extended – lease of their house, or to purchase the freehold. Certain tenancies are, however, excluded from this right. In particular, if the house is in a designated rural area and the freehold of the house AND the adjoining (non-residential) land are owned by the same landlord and have been since April 1, 1997, then the right to enfranchise is excluded (s.1AA, 1967 Act, prior to amendment by the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008). In Herstmere, Mrs Lovat was the leasehold owner of a house, which was surrounded by a (demised) garden and, then, by Shenley Park, a designated rural area.

So, why was this so difficult? Well, what does the “adjoining (non-residential) land” have to adjoin? Does it have to adjoin the house or is it enough to adjoin the garden which was demises to the house? This isn’t as silly as it sounds, since throughout the 1967 Act, sometimes the reference is to “house and premises” (which includes gardens, see s.2, 1967 Act) and sometimes to “house”. After a detailed trawl through the 1967 Act, and the various “absurd” results which would apply on either interpretation, the Court of Appeal held that the “house” which the rural land needs to adjoin, means “house or other premises, such as a garden”, so that the right to enfranchise was excluded.

Secondly, we have Daejan Properties Ltd v Campbell, Lawtel note only, Ch.Div. A property was divided into a maisonette, a flat and then a commercial unit. The lease of the maisonette provided for the leasehold owner to pay service charges for the repair of the exterior of the maisonette only. The landlord contended that the lease must have contained an error; the intention was clearly that the tenant of the maisonette contribute towards the repairs of the whole building. The High Court agreed and granted a declaration to this effect. I’m waiting for the official judgment to become available and, if it reveals anything more interesting, I’ll let you know.

J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.

2 Comments

  1. SimonH

    The point in Hertsmere BC v Lovat is indeed a rather obscure one. The judgment is notable, really, for being one of the only times in the history of the Court of Appeal in which that court has used the works of Charles Dickens (Bleak House, to be precise) as an authority (cf para. 35 of Rimer LJ’s judgment).

    Reply
  2. chief

    The tenant in Daejan v Campbell has been granted permission to appeal by Lloyd LJ. Rather boldly, she is also seeking to adduce new evidence.

    Reply

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