When is a Residential Lease, a Residential Lease? A House, a House? 1967 Act

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    1. This old newspaper report will explain a lot about pub conversions to residential use :


    2. You can check your council tax bill is charged for the residential banding D ? or commercial pub rates ?

    Is the building still looking like a pub externally ? The Council tax bill will confirm what you are looking for ?

    3. I suggested Magistrates Court because the Court Manager is willing to advise if you can enter a claim .
    The County Court Management Office will not tell you anything or give any help. But no need for that now.

    4. You have a lease from 1974 for 99 years , so you have 56 years left on the lease for a leasehold house and

    I believe you can buy the freehold title under the 1967 Act.


      From the Guardian article you linked me to, I can readily recognise the following phrases as describing my pub:
      "A defunct and dilapidated urban pub of dubious reputation [...] no longer viable [...] fall into disrepair"

      The pub was built in the middle of a slum area. It may have been hoped that this shiny new 1960s pub would help regenerate the area, but then they tore down the slum and built a new housing estate and a shiny new school around it. Now the awful 1960's architecture looks horrifying in comparison and the building is a local eyesore dragging down the area.

      If it helps, I am a landlord and own a few buildings. I focus on acquiring distressed properties, at a discount that reflects the distressed nature of the property. I factor in, and expect the discovery of horrors that lie beneath. They can be distress by condition (dilapidation), structural problem, legal problem (adverse possession, breach of lease) or whatever. I got this pub by court vesting order for £14k (3,675sqft internal, 0.12 hectare plot). I have come to this business with no real capital, so my ability to resolve these dire problems is my leverage to establish myself. But it does mean, that I must not run to counsel, solicitors, surveyors etc to solve every single problem, as these costs will always sink the project. It also happens, that I love learning law and view many of the legal battles not only to assist me with a property, but as a legal project to help me learn more about the law - this tends to result in me going into the legal points of my case to a degree that my opposition can rarely justify.

      This does not mean to say I don't get advice etc. This site's "Jeffrey" (who I found through this site!) has been of immeasurable assistance with much of the minutiae and I have a direct access barrister look over my case, or make key applications for me, at key junctures in the process.

      The accommodation upstairs has always been banded for council tax (Band A). Downstairs was under the Business Rates regime, but when the pub was gutted back to the brick, the downstairs became Zero Rated for business rates purposes. It has been a battle to get the Valuation Office to recognise downstairs as residential, but they have just notified me that this is what they have done, and that I should expect a Banding Decision soon - I do hope they take my dyslexia into account and don't venture too far down the alphabet!

      As our renovations proceed, the building is looking more and more like a "House" than a "Public House", though my comments about the Beerhouse Act suggest there was never such a big difference - but point taken - physical appearance seems important to the 1967 Act.

      I will follow the wisdom in the ancient Chinese advice on the art of war, that Leaseholder64 correctly quoted, and work towards strengthening my case to the point it is as invincible as possible, before I strike - waiting is not stopping the renovations, exposing me to any real risk or stressing me - but it is giving me time to get my ducks in a row, passing all legal limitations periods, strengthening my argument that it is too late for the freeholder to act now. Time is my friend, just as long as I don't dawdle during this time.


        Various conditions need to be met before a long lease of property is eligible for enfranchisement under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The only question at issue here is whether the property is a house for the purpose of the Act. To answer the question we need to see what the Act says. The relevant parts are subsections 1 and 2 of section 2. When we have looked at those subsections we know that we do not need to ask any of the following questions:

        · Is the property occupied as a dwelling?
        · What does the lease say about the use of the property?
        · What is the position under planning law?
        · What is the history of the property?

        What you do is go through the subsections and see if you are compliant. If you are compliant you are home and dry...

        ...unless there is a fly in the ointment. There will only be a problem if you have gone against the general principle that a man may not benefit from his own wrongdoing. In the Act "house" is defined solely in terms of the building's appearance and layout. That means the wrongdoing must relate to doing something physical which changes the property from not being compliant with the subsections to being compliant with the subsections. If there has been no such wrongdoing you are in the clear. If you made alterations in breach of a term of the lease you will probably be in the clear if the landlord stood by while you made the alterations or if sufficient time has passed that it would be unreasonable for the landlord to object to them.


          You need to send a written enquiry to your local council asking if any formal licence or planning consent required for conversion of pub to private residence. and get a letter back hopefully to say NO.


          You need to fix a green plate near the front door showing

          " This is a private house 2018 . The Pub departed in 2008".

          ( Take a photo for your enfranchising. use. )



            Leasehold Reform Act 1967, s.2(1):
            For purposes of this Part of this Act, “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

            The building is a mostly single storey (1960's flat roof architectural disaster), with part being 2 storeys. A detached, large house wrapped around with its own gardens, parking and yard. All plots around it are vacant.

            The blue and green text is usually what the Law Lords seem to labour over, but the red text seem to suggest an even wider, more accommodating / flexible definition of "house" - it seems not only to allow a building to be a house if enough of it is designed or adapted for living in (mixed use), but also allow for (simultaneous) complete dual usage.

            My old house was a large office and a large home at the same time. The office space, was my kids homework space in the evenings, the conference table during the day, was the dinning room table out of hours etc. In my new, bigger home, I continue this approach, but also let some rooms out some of the time - use them as family guest rooms at other times. simultaneous mixed use that is impossible to disentangle.

            It fits in ideally with our lifestyle, but give Council Tax, Business Rates, Fire Brigade, Planning etc headaches, because their laws and regs requires separate areas of distinctly different usage. Our homes never compute.

            I note that Planning have no status recorded for the building (A4 pub, C3 Dwellinghouse, C4 upto 6 bed HMO...)
            But that planning do like to refer to the Ordnance Survey maps that have it down as "PH" (Public House")
            Royal Mail have it down as a House (with no street number)
            And HM Land Registry suffix its name with "... Hotel"

            A normal "hotel" does not offer sufficiently settled occupation to count as "living in" for the 1967 Act, people only "stay in" them - their main residences are in the vast majority of cases elsewhere - as the law lords state.

            However, Residential Hotels (HMOs) are places people typically "live" in for more than 30 days as their main residence - actually an HMO licence only takes into account occupants as those who occupy the house for more than 30 days as occupants for the sake of occupation limits in HMO licences.

            I am in the process of applying for an HMO licence for the 2-storey property (HMO licences have only been required since 1.10.18) as I rent out some rooms in my home, the Council is struggling a little on the issue (their HMO inspectors, inspected it last year - fully up to spec), but the Council have a Duty to Licence HMO in their areas under the Housing Act 2004 - the interesting point is that it is the Council who are the Freeholders - they will be taking one further step towards recognising it as a House (albeit in multiple occupation) which they must do, even if use is disputed.

            Use as a House / House in Multiple Occupation, has taken place for over 4 years. the local Council's planning department do accept that 4 years is the relevant limitations period for change of use to a "single dwellinghouse" (Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s.171B(2)) - and they accept (reluctantly - I suspect after they lost some expensive cases in court) that a "single dwellinghouse" includes both a house in single household occupation, as well as a house in multiple occupation (A house converted into self-contained flats is no longer a "single dwellinghouse", but a block of flats...)

            Over 4 years use as a dwelling house, means that even if planning believe it is in breach of planning, that they are out of time and can no longer enforce.

            The law lords held (Regent Lion Properties Ltd v Westminster Council 1990, Lord Justice Glidewell, Lord Justice Mann etc) that use in breach of planning regulations was not unlawful (it did not break a law, just a regulation), only continued use after a Planning Contravention Notice was served could be deemed to be (criminally) unlawful - so we are beyond the point of time when planning could enforce breaches with a Planning Contravention Notice, but they still believe we are in breach of planning, but the law lords hold that even if this were to be held to be the case, this would still not be unlawful - unlawfullness forms a key element of what makes up "wrongdoing" (and benefiting from it) as you have said several times.

            I have applied for C4 (up to 6 bedrooms) HMO "Permitted Development Certificate: Existing Use" from the Council based on 4+ years use as an HMO and was readily granted such a certificate - I used their inspections over the years as proof of the 4+ years use as an HMO. The onus of proof is on the applicant if you want the Council to issue such a certificate, but I threw this back at them, by citing them and their inspections, as my proof to them of over 4 years use as HMO.

            I will soon do a near identical application for my former pub, home. Given the number of rooms we have (>6) I will be applying for "Sui Generis" use (any use, not otherwise categorised)

            Step-by-step constructing a rigorous case for leasehold enfranchisement.



              We already have big "PRIVATE HOUSE Keep Out" signs on the gates etc, ready for Google's Streetview to snap and date stamp when they next come by.

              The interesting thing about Streetview, is that if you click on the top left hand corner (Clock icon), a Time Slider will pop up.

              Going back to 2008 in Streetview you can see the pub in its dying throws, with banners outside desperately seeking people to take over as publican tenants, then in 2012 closed down as a pub and with our cars inside the fenced in parking enclosure and every 2-3 years one more step towards it becoming our house.

              We could Photoshop photographic proof of this evolution, but we can't Photoshop Google's Streetview - making challenging our proof near impossible.


                Lionheart, you said you like detail. You are going into too much detail here!

                If we can extract a rule of thumb from section 2 LRA 1967 it is this: If it looks like a house it is a house for the purpose of the Act. You invite the oft consulted man on the Clapham omnibus, show him round and ask if he thinks the building is a house. If he says it is then it is a house for the purpose of the Act. I emphasise that this a rule of thumb. There may be some devil in the detail, such as a cellar which goes under an adjoining property, which casts doubt on the position.

                You do not need to look at the lease, consult the planning authority, enquire how the property is rated or delve into the property's history. The criteria are concerned with appearance and layout and nothing else. The focus is not on whether the property is currently residential.


                  Trying to make it a HMO now is the wrong move.

                  Keep it as your house and GO for enfranchisement under the the 1967 Act.


                    Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                    Trying to make it a HMO now is the wrong move.
                    Is it? If the building is a house today for the purpose of the LRA 1967 then it will be after it becomes an HMO if no physical changes are made which would lead anyone to think it was not a house.


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