Owners of lakeside holiday homes near Cirencester win freehold legal battle

A group of holiday homeowners at an exclusive waterside estate near Cirencester have have won the right to purchase the freehold of their properties following a legal battle.

The leaseholders were able to prove that the properties, located in Lower Mill Estate at Cotswold Water Park, were houses by law.

Helen Bell, property litigation solicitor at law firm Mayo Wynne Baxter, was asked to represent several people who wanted to purchase the freehold on a group of holiday rental properties in.

However, the freeholder claimed the properties, located near Somerford Keynes, did not qualify as houses by law because they were holiday homes.

It comes more than a decade after Lower Miller Estate were told by stop marketing the holiday homes as ‘second homes’ by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The case was the first of its kind to go to trial and Helen had to prove that the luxury lakeside homes, some of which are worth millions of pounds, could be defined as houses under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.

Helen said: “Purchasing the freehold is normally a straightforward process but we were up against tough opposition from the freeholder.

“In this case, we had no previous court decision to guide us – it was the first time that a court had directly addressed this issue.

“We had to satisfy the court that the holiday homes did in fact meet the criteria to be classed as houses under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 – legislation which allowed people to buy the freehold for the first time.

“While not all holiday homes will meet the criteria in the Act, the court ruled that these buildings could be defined as houses.

“In the past, others may have not taken on their landlords for fear of losing. That’s why this is a really exciting ruling – it’s the first of its kind and could impact future cases.”

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