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Lawbite: home away from home

  • United Kingdom
  • Real estate


This recent County Court case addresses whether a holiday home can qualify as a ‘house’ under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, so as to entitle the tenant to claim the freehold of the property.

One would be forgiven for thinking that defining a ‘house’ is a relatively straightforward matter. However this point is not as simple as it may appear and has been examined no less than four times by the House of Lords and once by the Supreme Court. Despite this extensive judicial consideration, apparently the question of whether a holiday home may qualify as a house had never come before the courts, until this case.

The properties are part of a large holiday home development in the Cotswolds and used as second homes by the tenants. The Court had to decide whether such homes were ‘designed or adapted for living in’ and were houses ‘reasonably so called’ to fall within the definition of ‘house’.

In a detailed judgement running to 40 pages, Judge Tildesley OBE examined evidence on the physical characteristics of the properties, the terms of the leases (in particular the ‘user’ covenants), the planning permissions and the actual use of the properties to determine that these holiday homes were indeed houses for the purposes of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967

Key Points:

  • Whilst this judgement will pave the way for tenants to claim the freehold of their holiday homes, some caution is advisable – the decision is fact specific and not all holiday homes will qualify.
  • The judgement is a County Court decision and susceptible to being overturned by the higher courts. Given that the door has now been opened for holiday home claims, we are likely to see further litigation on this point and therefore this may not be settled law.