News

Shakespeare Martineau
secures Supreme Court victory
for Regency Villas

Shakespeare Martineau secures Supreme Court victory for Regency Villas

Published: 15th November 2018
Area: Firm News
Author: Martin Edwards

In a long-running case which has been brought through the legal system to the highest court in the UK, Shakespeare Martineau, along with St Philips Chambers, has claimed a victory in the Supreme Court in the case of Regency Villas Title Limited v Diamond Resorts (Europe) Limited.

The background

Central to the case was an agreement through which the owners of timeshare properties were granted rights to use an entire complex of high-class recreational and sporting facilities on the neighbouring Broome Park Estate in Kent, which was in different ownership. The appellant, Diamond Resorts, argued that they weren’t entitled to this right, even though this formed the basis of an agreement drafted a number of years ago.

The Court ruled in Regency Villas’ favour, acknowledging that recreational and sporting activity is so clearly an important and beneficial part of modern life that the law should support structures which promote and encourage it.

So, what does it mean going forward?

Martin Edwards, the firm’s head of property disputes, said:

“This decision will almost certainly send shockwaves across the global property sector. In deciding the residents at Regency Villas had the right to continue using neighbouring sporting and leisure facilities free of charge, the Supreme Court has set a very clear precedent and resolved a controversy which goes as far back as Roman law regarding the circumstances in which such pure recreational rights may qualify as being easements.

“A key feature of this case is that the grant of these recreational rights – which were enjoyed in a self-contained way on Broome Park Estate – was of service, utility and benefit to the timeshare apartments.

“Shared facilities between properties is not a new concept and is in place on many golf resorts, health clubs and apartment complexes. Now that we have a clear legal definition as to which recreational rights should count as easements, it’s likely that timeshare and property owners across the world will be sitting up and questioning whether they can enforce rights over use of other facilities, potentially leading to more claims. This could include the use of golf courses, tennis courts, gyms, swimming pools and restaurants and go beyond the more conventional facilities such as gardens and parking spaces.”

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