Posts Tagged ‘car parking spaces’

Car parking easements and the ouster principle: understanding Batchelor

May 4, 2017

In Virdi v Chana ([2008] EWHC 2901 (Ch)) A claimed to have acquired a car parking easement over land (‘the servient land’) partly owned by B. The question was whether the claim was invalidated by the ouster principle.

In Batchelor v Marlow, the English Court of Appeal rejected a claimed car parking easement on the basis that it left the servient owner without any reasonable use of the land.

If the whole of the surface area would be taken up by the car there was an ouster. An application of this test might seem to invalidate the easement claimed in Virdi.

Batchelor came in for severe criticism by the UK Supreme Court in Moncrieff v JamiesonMoncrieff made ‘control and possession’ the test. This was a relaxation of the strict test in Batchelor.

Judge Purle QC noted, however, that Moncrieff had not overruled Batchelor and felt bound to apply Batchelor. He held that the easement was valid even when the Batchelor test was applied.

First, peculiar to the facts of this case, B did not own all of the servient land, only a part of it. It could not be said that the claimed easement prevented B from parking since B had no right to  do so.

Second, some uses of the land owned by B remained possible: planting trees or shrubs, erecting a trellis. These could be done so long as they did not prevent the parking of a car.

Judge Purle thought that even the right to resurface the land prevented the easement from infringing the ouster principle. When the land was next to domestic property, resurfacing might have aesthetic value. Such a right was not wholly insignificant and illusory.

Michael Lower

Construction of DMC: were parking spaces common parts?

January 5, 2015

In Tai Fat Development (Holding) Co Ltd v Gold King Industrial Building (IO) ([2014] HKEC 2130, CA) the question was whether 13 car parking spaces in a building in multiple ownership were common areas or whether they had been retained by the first owner of the entire building. Barma JA referred to the principles of contractual interpretation in Jumbo King ([15]). Commercial common sense can be an aid to construction where the words used are capable of differing, but equally plausible, meanings ([16]). Here the relevant documents were the first assignment of a unit in the building, the DMC, the Special Conditions of Grant and the Approved Building Plans ([17]). The wording of the first assignment gave primacy to the DMC  when it came to defining the common areas. The DMC identified the car parking spaces in question as common areas ([23]). A number of other factors supported this conclusion. First, the DMC did not attach ownership shares to the spaces in question ([25]). Second, the DMC referred to ‘Parking Spaces’ (which were not common areas) as being spaces to be allocated to individual buyers; that these spaces had never been assigned was telling ([26]). If the spaces were in private ownership there would be no loading or unloading areas available to non-owners and the accessway would have to be used for this purpose ([27]).

Michael Lower