Day v Hosebay Ltd
Howard De Walden Estates Ltd v Lexgorge Ltd
 EWCA Civ 748
Court of Appeal: Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury MR, Lloyd LJ, Moore-Bick LJ
The Court of Appeal has held that a local authority, dealing with a right to buy application, had implied power to serve a revised notice under s125 Housing Act 1985 to correct a clerical mistake; where the tenant had accepted a revised notice, increasing the valuation and purchase price figures, the rights or obligations of either party under the original s125 notice had been discharged by mutual agreement.
The Court of Appeal heard two appeals in which the common issue was the meaning of “house” in s.2(1), Leasehold Reform Act 1967. By s.2(1):
“... „house‟ includes any building designed or adapted for living in and reasonably so called, notwithstanding that the building is not structurally detached, or was or is not solely designed or adapted for living in, or is divided horizontally into flats or maisonettes…”.
In each case, the tenants successfully argued at first instance that they were entitled to enfranchise under the 1967 Act because the buildings concerned were houses. The landlords appealed.
Day v Hosebay Ltd
Hosebay Ltd acquired the long-leasehold interests in three properties in a terrace: 29, 31 and 39 Rosary Gardens. Each lease demised the premises as a “messuage or dwellinghouse”. The leases of nos 29 and 39 required the premises to be used only “as 16 residential flatlets” with a resident caretaker and that the external appearance of the premises be that of “a private dwellinghouse”. The lease of no.31 restricted the use of the premises to that of “a single family residence” or “a high class furnished property” for up to 20 occupiers, with a resident caretaker. Each property was being used as short-term accommodation for tourists and other visitors to London. The properties had been adapted to provide individual rooms with self-catering facilities. In no.31, there was also an office and a storage area.
The landlord‟s appeal was dismissed. The properties were adapted for living in. Although the rooms were being occupied on a short-term basis, they were entirely appropriate for use as long-term accommodation. Further each building could reasonably be called a house. The leases described the properties as dwellinghouses and the physical appearance of each property remained that of a house.
Howard de Walden Estates Ltd v Lexgorge Ltd
The building, which compromised five floors, was originally built as a house. Lexgorge Ltd own the leasehold interest in the house. Under the terms of the lease, the building was described as a “messuage or residential or professional premises” and its use was restricted to self-contained flats or maisonettes on the upper two floors, professional offices on the first and ground floors, with the use of the basement being restricted to storage. At the time that Lexgorge Ltd sought to enfranchise, all the floors were being used for office accommodation.
The landlord‟s appeal was dismissed. The only issue was whether the building could reasonably be called a house. The fact that it was being used wholly for offices did not mean that it could not reasonably be called a house. Had the upper floors of the property been empty, there was no doubt that it was a house. Its external character and appearance was that of a house, it was described as “residential or professional premises” in the lease and the lease permitted substantial residential use.