DESCRIPTIVE RUBRIC

Tenants’ Rights – Public Sector Housing – Right to Buy – Conditions of Offer to Sell – Reasonableness – Particular servitude right of access in connection with refurbishment of neighbouring house – Responsibility for communal areas – Extent of ground to be included – Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, Sections 64(1),65

William and Christine Johnston v Link Group Limited
LTS/TR/2002/10
11 July 2003

The applicants were entitled to insist on purchasing the house of which they were tenants although the houses round about had been demolished as part of a regeneration programme and the area was being re-developed. Difficulties arose in relation to the conditions to be attached to the applicants’ purchase. The respondents required, as a result of the applicants’ decision to acquire their existing house, to refurbish its neighbour, involving roof works, and proposed a particular servitude right of access over and above the general rights in a Deed of Declaration of Conditions. The applicants resisted being made responsible for a share of maintenance of communal areas over the whole area being regenerated, as opposed to their particular street. The applicants wished to acquire a hitherto communal area to the rear of their house, and in any event did not agree the exact area to the rear even if they did not acquire the extra area.

Held, (i) the respondents were entitled in the particular circumstances to have inserted in the applicants’ title a particular (but limited) servitude right of access to make clear their entitlement to erect scaffolding in connection with the refurbishment of the neighbouring house; (ii) the respondents were entitled to insist upon a condition requiring the applicants to accept joint responsibility along with all the other owners (including the respondents as landlords of many of the houses) in the larger area in respect of which the applicants as tenants currently paid within their rent calculation a share of maintenance, the landlords’ purpose of enhancing and maintaining the amenity of the whole area for the benefit of all residents being appropriate and reasonable; (iii) it was not appropriate for the tribunal to exercise its jurisdiction to make any order in these proceedings regarding the area which was formerly part of a communal access area and not within the applicants’ lease, although this area was of no use to anyone else and the respondents were willing to grant the applicants an option to purchase it; and (iv) the exact extent of the area to the rear of the house included within the tenancy and which the applicants were entitled to purchase was fixed.

Cases referred to:-

Keay v Renfrew District Council 1982 SLT (Lands Tr.) 33
McLuskey v Scottish Homes 1993 SLT (Lands Tr.) 17


See full decision:  LTS/TR/2002/10