DESCRIPTIVE RUBRIC

Landlord and tenant – Public sector housing – Tenants’ rights – Right to purchase – Whether tenancy secure – Janitor’s house beside entrance to school complex – Curtilage – Facts and circumstances – Janitors no longer required to occupy tied houses – Physical location – Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, Schedule 1, Para. 9

Taylor v Renfrewshire Council
13 November 2009
LTS/TR/2009/03

The respondents opposed an application for a finding of entitlement to purchase a school janitor’s house situated near the entrance to a modern primary school complex in a semi-rural location. The respondents claimed that the dwelling was within the curtilage of the school building. It was clear that there was no requirement for the janitor either to reside in the house or to attend out of hours.

Held, refusing the application, consideration whether there was a functional connection between the house and the school building was permissible in order to see whether the test in Sinclair-Lockhart’s Trs v CentralLand Board was satisfied, but the extent of the curtilage might be determined simply on the geographical or physical position. The clear implication of the respondents’ policy on janitors’ employment precluded a finding that the house site was used for the enjoyment of the school building. However, although the house had its own small curtilage, the school complex naturally included the area, part of the school entrance area, in which the house was situated. Other possible views of the school’s curtilage in the area of the house appeared artificial. Although the boundary at that corner of the school site was not marked by any wall or fence, a natural physical boundary, equivalent for these purposes to a fence, had been achieved. No account was taken of the possibility of future development of this area of the school grounds (cf Barron v Borders Regional Council, at 38H-39E).

Authorities referred to

Sinclair-Lockhart’s Trs v Central Land Board 1951 SC 258
Assessor for Lothian v B.P.Oil Grangemouth Refinery Ltd 1985 SLT 453
Barron v Borders Regional Council 1987 SLT (Lands Tr) 36
Burns v Central Regional Council 1988 SLT (Lands Tr) 46
Allison v Tayside Regional Council 1989 SLT (Lands Tr) 65
Shipman v Lothian Regional Council 1989 SLT (Lands Tr) 82
Fee v East Renfrewshire Council LTS/TR/2004/07, 1.7.2005


See full decision:  LTS/TR/2009/03