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What is a flat? Trowers acts in key case on collective enfranchisement

What is a flat? Trowers acts in key case on collective enfranchisement

Trowers & Hamlins has acted for Jafton Properties Limited in a key case on collective enfranchisement.  Judgment in the county court case was handed down on 16 April 2013 in Smith and Dennis v Jafton Properties Limited.

The judgment considered 'what is a flat' under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.  The judge was also required to consider whether the short-term serviced accommodation in the case could be considered to be 'occupied for residential purposes' in the case of collective enfranchisement.  He ruled that just because flats look like flats, they will not necessarily satisfy the statutory definition of "flat" in the LRHUDA.  The physical aspects of the property are unlikely to be conclusive alone and the pattern of occupancy of the flats must be considered.

The case follows closely on the heels of the key decision by the Supreme Court in Day v Hosebay Ltd in September last year.  Hosebay considered the question 'what is a house' under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.  That case looked in detail at the definition of 'house' and, in particular, the extent to which the definition encompassed premises used for commercial purposes.  It was held that a building used solely for 'commercial' purposes does not constitute a 'house'.

Paul Marco, partner in Property Litigation, and Leigh Shapiro, senior associate in Commercial Property, acted on behalf of Jafton Properties Limited in their successful defence of this claim.