Leasehold enfranchisement—what is a house and premises?
Leasehold enfranchisement—what is a house and premises?

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Leasehold enfranchisement—what is a house and premises?
  • What is a house?
  • Designed and adapted/reasonably so called
  • What are premises?
  • Additional premises
  • Excluded premises
  • Mines and minerals

The tenant of a house which is held under a long lease has the right to acquire the freehold or an extended lease of the house and premises under Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (LRA 1967), s 1(1). Consequently, the definition of house in LRA 1967, s 2 serves two purposes: firstly, it identifies those tenants who are entitled to claim the freehold or an extended lease, and secondly, in conjunction with premises, it identifies the extent of the property that they can claim.

What is a house?

The definition of house is not straightforward, notwithstanding that the opening words of s 2(1) are very broad: ‘a house is to include any building wholly or partially designed or adapted for living in and reasonably called a house, notwithstanding that it is not structurally detached’. The sub-section then goes on to provide that:

  1. where a building is divided horizontally into units, none of the units can be a house (although the whole building might be)

  2. where the building is divided vertically into units, each unit may qualify as a house (although the whole building cannot)

An important qualification is introduced by LRA 1967, s 2(2); a building cannot be a house where it is not structurally detached and a material part of it lies above or below a part of the larger structure