Timeshare Owners Win Right to Free Use of Leisure Facilities
The division of landed estates into smaller units is often productive of disputes which can simmer on for years. In one case which illustrated the point to a tee, timeshare owners had to go to the High Court in order to establish their right to free use of a golf course and other leisure facilities on neighbouring land.
The estate centred on a manor house which had, together with surrounding land, been turned into a leisure facility which was open to the public. Its facilities included an indoor swimming pool, tennis and squash courts and a golf course. However, part of the original estate had been hived off and sold on a timeshare basis during the 1980s.
In those circumstances, an issue arose as to whether timeshare owners had the right to use the estate’s facilities free of charge. The resulting dispute had been a source of unease and sometimes antagonism between the owners of the estate and the timeshare owners for a number of years.
The Court found that the terms of the transfer by which the timeshare land had been carved from the estate conferred on the timeshare owners a right – formally known as an easement – to free use of the estate’s facilities. An injunction was granted to that effect and the owners of the estate were ordered to reimburse sums which had wrongfully been demanded for use of the facilities during the past four years.