What is a House?

Another case on the definition of what constitutes a house for the purposes of the 'right to buy' legislation has been heard, providing further clarification on this contentious point.

The premises in question were a small high street shop with residential accommodation on the upper floors. When originally built, the kitchen and scullery were on the ground floor, but over the years the shop had been extended into that area.

The upstairs had also been modified, with an external staircase being added and a new kitchen built.

The downstairs of the property was let out for use as a newsagents and the upstairs used as residential accommodation.

In 2010, the upstairs tenants sent a notice to the landlord of their intention to acquire the property under the right to buy legislation. The application was rejected on the ground that the building had originally been built as a shop, not a house.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the fact that the property could reasonably be called a shop did not mean that it could not reasonably be considered to be a house.

This decision is the latest in a series in which the courts have looked at various aspects of the history and internal configurations of mixed-use properties to determine whether the right to buy legislation applies.

For advice on how the right to buy legislation may apply in your circumstances and how to exercise that right, contact us.
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