The word "house" is one of the 200 most frequently
used words in the English language and one of the 20 most
frequently used nouns. However an unintended consequence of the
abolition of the residence test for enfranchisement claims in 2002
has led to a spate of decisions in the appellate courts on the
question of what constitutes a house for the purposes of the
Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
The latest instalment in the saga is Mangohard -v- Cadogan 
EWCA Civ 594 decided by the Court of Appeal on 2 May 2012. Very
simply the question was whether a block of flats could constitute a
house. The case concerned a substantial building in Sloane Square
constructed in 1888. It comprised 8 residential flats and 3 shops
laid out over basement, ground and five upper floors. Although
there had been alterations to the building over the years it
remained substantially as constructed. The Court of Appeal had to
decide whether the building was a house reasonably so called. At
first instance the Court held the building was a block of flats.
The Court of Appeal had no difficulty in upholding that decision
and decided it was not reasonable to call the building a house. A
block of flats is not a house, at least not in the absence of
However this case is far from the end of the story. In around 10
weeks time the Supreme Court is due to hear the joined appeals in
Hosebay -v- Day and Howard de Walden -v- Lexgorge  EWCA Civ
748 which concerns buildings originally constructed as houses but
now used as an aparthotel and a solicitors' office. Landlords,
tenants and investors must hope that the Supreme Court will finally
bring clarity to the matter.
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