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Property Focus | What is a flat? Evaluating Jafton Properties Limited

The Court of Appeal judgment in Jafton Properties Limited held that sub-let flats used 
as service apartments were commercial properties. Natasha Rees reports on the effects 
for tenants

20 June 2013

The decision of the Supreme Court last year in the appeals collectively known as Hosebay made it clear that commercial tenants of 'houses' should not enjoy the benefits of the statutory enfranchisement regime. Although the Hosebay decision concerned the definition of houses under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 it has had a far reaching effect. Most recently, it has been relied upon by a freeholder to prevent a collective enfranchisement claim of flats let as serviced apartments. In a judgment given in April this year known as Smith and Dennis v Jafton Properties Limited (2013), the Central London County Court decided that due to the transient nature of the occupation the apartments were not "flats" as defined by the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

This decision will obviously have a significant impact on the enfranchisement rights of tenants who sub-let their flats. It does not sit easily with the cases such as Howard De Walden Esta...

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