On appeal from: [2010] EWCA Civ 748

These joined appeals concerned whether a property built originally as a house but subsequently used solely for commercial purposes may qualify as a “house” within the meaning of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, s 2. When notice to compulsorily acquire the freehold under s 8 of the 1967 Act was served by the respondents one property was in use as a “self-catering hotel”, and the other was used wholly as offices.

Held: neither property constituted a “house” for the purposes of the 1967 Act on the date when the statutory notice was served. The definition should be read in the context of Parliament’s intention that the statute concerned “houses” as places to live, instead of regarding them in terms of architecture. On a common sense interpretation the physical appearance of a building should not be determinative of whether it is a “house” for these purposes, and its description as a house for other purposes (such as architectural histories) is irrelevant.

For judgment, please download: [2012] UKSC 41
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