DESCRIPTIVE RUBRIC

Landlord and tenant – Public Sector Housing – Tenants’ Rights – Right to Purchase – Whether tenancy secure – Former School Janitor’s House – School buildings destroyed by fire – Whether house within curtilage of another building held mainly for non-housing purposes at relevant date – Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, Schedule 2, para. 8 – Housing (Scotland) Act 2001

Christopher Dorman v City of Edinburgh Council
12 April 2006
LTS/TR/2005/09

The applicant was admittedly entitled to purchase the former school janitor’s house of which he was the tenant, but the amount of statutory discount from the purchase price depended on whether he had a secure tenancy immediately before 30 September 2002, the date on which the 2001 Act, containing less favourable discount provisions, came into force. A major fire had severely damaged all the buildings on the site, except the house, on 27 September 2002. The school was at the time not in use but was being upgraded and refurbished to provide specialist school buildings for children with difficulties. The house, although in keeping with the architecture of the school and contained within the school’s overall rectangular enclosure, was physically attached to a row of tenement houses. It was separated from the school buildings by a small service yard at the rear of the school buildings. At the relevant time, the house took access from this small yard and had no separate enclosure of its own.

Held, the house was at the relevant date within the cartilage of a building mainly held by the landlord for purposes other than housing and consisting of accommodation other than housing accommodation. Before the fire, the house was, on a geographical approach, clearly within the school enclosure, which was delimited by walls and fences – it could not be excluded from that enclosure. As regards the effect of the fire, the applicant’s submission that there was no ‘building’ on 30 September could not be accepted: there was a building, albeit severely damaged and requiring demolition. There was no evidence of any different decision by 30 September as to the future use of the school site, so it was still mainly held for non-housing purposes and mainly consisted of non-housing accommodation. Accoridngly, the respondents’ offer to sell, on the basis that there had been no secure tenancy on the relevant date, conformed with the statutory provisions.

Authorities referred to:-

Sinclair-Lockhart’s Trs v Central Land Board 1951 SC 258
Assessor for Lothian Region v B. P. Oil Grangemouth Refinery 1985 SLT 453
Barron v Borders Regional Council 1987 SLT (Lands Tr) 36
Burns v Central Regional Council 19888 SLT (Lands Tr) 46
Richardson v Central Regional Council LTS/TR/1987/32
Walker v Lothian Regional Council 1990 SLT (Lands Tr) 17
McTurk v Fife Regional Council 1990 SLT (Lands Tr) 49
Smith v Dundee District Council LTS/TR/2000/18
Fee v East Renfrewshire Council LTS/TR/2004/07


See full decision:  LTS/TR/2005/9