A tenant who is entitled to pay cheap rent for life has won a court case against his landlords that will allow him to continue doing so.
David and Sheila Harding purchased a three-bedroom bungalow that belonged to their next door neighbour Colin Gregory as a buy to let investment in 2001. They acquired the property for £143,000, along with the promise that Gregory could remain in the property at a fixed monthly cheap rent of £800 for life.
According to the Argus newspaper in Sussex, Gregory was experiencing financial difficulties with his mortgage, an issue the Hardings hoped to alleviate by buying the property. Gregory denies this claim.
In 2002 the couple opted to sell their own home and move to Spain. Three years ago they decided to sell the other property, still occupied by Gregory. He was offered the opportunity to buy the home, but declined it, preferring to remain a tenant.
The Hardings accepted an offer from a buyer who was willing to pay approximately £240,000 and retain Gregory as a tenant. This was on the condition that he pay an inflated rent, amounting to £1,200 a month.
Gregory refused to agree to the additional rent charges, meaning that the case went to Brighton County Court, where it was found that Gregory was in fact entitled to low rent for life. This is under the 1925 property act which gives him the right to pay £800 for the next 90 years.
Gregory was awarded costs of £11,000, paid by the Hardings. The couple are only allowed to sell the home to someone who will keep Gregory as a tenant paying £800 monthly rent.
Speaking to the Argus, Gregory said: ‘I have spent over £5,000 on repairing stuff around the house that I have never got back. I also still haven’t been paid any of the court costs they have been ordered to pay.’