Restrictions on use of holiday homes – court of appeal lays down law

Sydney Mitchell

Many thousands of holiday homes are subject to planning restrictions that forbid their occupation all the year round or as principal residences.

Such rules are sometimes taken with a pinch of salt by their owners, but a Court of Appeal ruling showed that they must be taken seriously.

The case concerned a number of properties that lay within a country park. They were subject to a planning condition requiring that they be used for holiday purposes only and must not be occupied as a person’s sole or main residence.

All or most of the residents had signed licence agreements that reflected the condition’s terms. A number of occupants had, however, started to live in their properties full time.

The local authority issued enforcement notices that forbade such use and an appeal by residents to a government planning inspector was later dismissed. Retrospective planning permission was also refused and their judicial review challenge to the inspector’s decision was struck out by a judge.

In dismissing one resident’s appeal against the latter decision, the Court rejected arguments that the handling of the case had been procedurally unfair. The inspector had carefully considered all the issues, including the human right of residents to respect for their homes.

Permission to introduce fresh evidence was also refused. For advice please contact Sundeep Bilkhu on 0121 698 2200, email or fill in our online enquiry form.