A new ruling on easements is a blessing and a curse for the timeshare industry

Broome Park country house, Kent

A Supreme Court judgment questions whether a timeshare property can grant an easement on a neighbouring property.

When the timeshare owners of Regency Villas in Barham, Kent, were asked to start paying for the use of neighbouring Broome Park’s sporting facilities, which they had been using for free, they took the case to court. The defendant, Diamond Resorts, the freehold owner of Broome Park at the time, contended that the grant permitting the timeshare owner the right to use the sporting equipment was not a right to the free use of that sporting equipment.

Its case is based on the Roman legal doctrine that a right to wander for enjoyment is not a right to use land for free and is not a right that can be passed on. The Supreme Court ruled against Diamond Resorts by giving a 21st-century spin on this ancient legal principle, in a landmark decision that affects leisure facilities, hotels and potentially even mixed-use schemes.

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