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Portman Estate Nominees v Jamieson [2018] UKUT 0027

DATE: 28 Feb 2018

This was a dispute regarding the price payable for the freehold of a house in Marylebone under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. When the lease was granted in 1957, the demised premises consisted of an old mews building which had been connected to the main house at the rear. It was mainly demolished and replaced with a new house. The lessee contended that the construction of the new house should be disregarded. The Landlords contended that the work should not be disregarded for a number of reasons, including that the work of improvement had to be to “a house” within the meaning of the 1967 Act, that the old mews was not a house, and that the demolition was so extensive that it was not an improvement to an existing building. They relied on the Court of Appeal decision in Rosen v Trustees of Camden Charities, which held that the construction of a house on a bare site was not an improvement.  The Upper Tribunal rejected all these arguments, holding that the overriding principle was that the tenant should not have to pay the value of work he or his predecessors had carried out. These parts of the decision will be helpful to tenants of flats and houses which have been converted from offices or other types of building.

On the valuation evidence, the Tribunal held that the new house was not more valuable than the mews, so there was no increase in value to disregard for improvements.

Tom Jefferies acted for the lessee.