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Right of first refusal

See the article "Developers beware! The pitfalls of tenants' rights of first refusal and collective enfranchisement" by Radevsky, Dollar and Thompson-Copsey - Some practical guidance on how to avoid the pitfalls.

This page deals with the following points:
  • Definition of "building"

  • Defects in different notices

  • Rectification and the right of first refusal

  • Service of documents


Definition of "building" to include airspace

Dartmouth Court Blackheath Limited v Berisworth Limited
[2008] EWHC 350 (Ch)


Part 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, broadly speaking, gives residential tenants the right of first refusal where their landlord proposes to dispose of an interest in the premises in which their flats are situated. The premises must consist of the whole or part of a building. The Act does not define "building". In this case, the High Court held that the tenants of a block of flats should have been offered first refusal of a lease that included the airspace above the block, which had been granted to allow a developer to build additional flats on the roof.


Dartmouth Court is a 1930's block of flats in South London consisting of 72 flats on 4 floors ("the main building"). There are also basement rooms in the main building which do not form part of any flat. In addition there is a garage block (containing fewer garages than flats and let on separate leases), driveways, paths and gardens. Some of the ground floor flats open out into a lightwell over which the tenants have rights of way. On the roof of the main building are pipes and a water tank which serve the flats and chimneys which are still in use, as well as a mobile phone mast.

In 2003, the landlord:

1. Transferred the freehold of 3 garages, a plant room, a caretaker's office and an electricity sub-station to D; and

2. Granted a lease to D of:

    a. The airspace above the roof ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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