Home Information Cases Mallet & Sons (Antiques) Ltd v Grosvenor West End Properties (2006)

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Mallet & Sons (Antiques) Ltd v Grosvenor West End Properties (2006)

Summary

When deciding whether a property, or at least a substantial part, satisfied the definition of a "house" for the purpose of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 s.2(1) the question that had to be decided was whether the premises, viewed at the moment notice was given, were designed or adapted for living in.

Facts

The appellants (M and B) appealed against a decision that they had no right to the freehold interest in properties under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 . M and B both held leasehold interests in two separate properties and gave notice of a desire to have the freehold interest in the properties transferred to them by the respondent (G). G disputed their right to the freehold interest as the properties were not houses within s.2(1) of the 1967 Act. M and B issued proceedings and the judge held that in B's case the property was so dilapidated that it was incapable of being occupied as a residence, and in M's case that the substantial alterations to its property meant that it was not "designed or adapted for living in" for the purposes of s.2(1). M and B contended that the judge's decisions had been wrong as the test was not whether the property was capable, at the date of the notice, of being occupied as a residence but was an essentially historic test of (i) was the building at some stage wholly or partially adapted for living in, and (ii) had the property retained that quality and not lost its essential configuration and layout. B submitted that despite the dilapidations the property had retained its essential configuration of its earlier design for residential use. M contended that although the property had been given over for commercial use, it could be given over for immediate residential use if necessary.

Held

When deciding if a property satisfied the definition of a "house" for the purpose of s.2(1) of the 1967 Act, the court had to consider the property at the time the notice was served. The question that had to be asked was whether the premises, viewed at the moment the notice was given, were designed or adapted for living in. A two-stage process was unwarranted on the face of the 1967 Act. In the case of B, because of the grave dilapidations the upper floors were not designed or adapted for anything. In the case of M, the property had been manifestly adapted for commercial use. The issue in the instant cases was a novel one as, until July 2002, there was a requirement of actual residence as a condition of getting enfranchisement.

Appeals dismissed.

Court of Appeal
Tuckey LJ, Laws LJ, Carnwath LJ
Judgment date
21 March 2006
References

[2006] 1 WLR 2848 

Practice areas