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Couple who spent £230k on Cornwall cottage are evicted

A couple who spent more than £200,000 transforming a derelict rented cottage into an idyllic country home have lost their High Court bid to stay after their landlord ordered them out.  

The cottage – known as Mellinzeath near Falmouth, Cornwall and its barn were just shells when Stephen Smyth-Tyrrell spotted an opportunity to transform the properties 25 years ago.

Mr Smyth-Tyrrell, whose family have been landowners in the area since 1760, spent about £230,00 renovating the property as holiday lets.

A couple have been forced out of an idyllic country cottage after 25 years despite spending over £200,000 renovating it. The cottage – known as Mellinzeath near Falmouth, Cornwall and its barn were derelict shells when Stephen Smyth-Tyrrell spotted an opportunity to transform the properties 25 years ago

But he and his wife Beaujolois have never owned Mellinzeath, instead renting it from farmer William Bowden and his father before him.

Trouble broke out in June 2014 when Mr Bowden issued the couple with notice to quit Mellinzeath, which is set in about nine-and-a-half acres of land.

The Smyth-Tyrrells took the dispute to the High Court in London, insisting they had the right to stay.

Mr Smyth-Tyrrell, whose family have been landowners in the area since 1760, spent about £230,00 renovating the property as holiday lets. But he and his wife Beaujolois have never owned Mellinzeath, instead renting it from farmer William Bowden and his father before him

Mr Smyth-Tyrrell, whose family have been landowners in the area since 1760, spent about £230,00 renovating the property as holiday lets. But he and his wife Beaujolois have never owned Mellinzeath, instead renting it from farmer William Bowden and his father before him

The couple, whose home Bosvathick is about three miles away, had poured cash into making Mellinzeath a draw for holidaymakers, the court heard.

Work they carried out on the cottage and barn had increased the property’s value from, at most, £190,000 to £375,000.

Following floods in 2012, they had dredged the millpond, re-ordered and banked the stream, also altering its course.

And, despite having rented out Mellinzeath for tourists, the couple said they have yet to recoup their investment.

But after a hearing at London’s High Court, Judge Paul Matthews has ruled that Mr and Mrs Smyth-Tyrrell have to leave.

The cottage is part of the Bowden family’s 750-acre Boswidjack Farm, in Constantine and was first rented to Mr Smyth-Tyrrell in 1993 for just £400 a year.

Trouble broke out in June 2014 when Mr Bowden issued the couple with notice to quit Mellinzeath, which is set in about 9.5 acres of land. The Smyth-Tyrrells took the dispute to the High Court in London, insisting they had the right to stay

Trouble broke out in June 2014 when Mr Bowden issued the couple with notice to quit Mellinzeath, which is set in about 9.5 acres of land. The Smyth-Tyrrells took the dispute to the High Court in London, insisting they had the right to stay

The original lease was for 15 years, but the Smyth-Tyrrells stayed on after that on a yearly tenancy, paying an increased rent of £1,000 a year.

Ruling against the couple, Judge Matthews said there had never been a ‘common understanding’ that they could stay on indefinitely.

Neither Mr Bowden nor his father had given Mr Smyth-Tyrrell any ‘promise or assurance’ that he could stay beyond the initial 15-year term.

The Smyth-Tyrrells never had any long-term security of tenure and money they spent on Mellinzeath was ‘at their own risk’, the judge ruled.

Work they carried out on the cottage and barn had increased the property's value from, at most, £190,000 to £375,000. Following floods in 2012, they had dredged the millpond, re-ordered and banked the stream, also altering its course

Work they carried out on the cottage and barn had increased the property’s value from, at most, £190,000 to £375,000. Following floods in 2012, they had dredged the millpond, re-ordered and banked the stream, also altering its course

He concluded: ‘I find that Mr and Mrs Smyth-Tyrrell here played a long game to try and get the ownership of the land from their neighbour without letting on that this was what they were trying to do.

‘In the meantime, they thought they could recoup their expenditure – and indeed make a profit – from the refurbishment of the property and then letting it for holiday lets.

‘If it has not succeeded it is because it was a speculation which could have gone either way but which in the event has not proved as profitable as hoped.

The cottage is part of the Bowden family's 750-acre Boswidjack Farm, in Constantine and was first rented to Mr Smyth-Tyrrell in 1993 for just £400 a year

The cottage is part of the Bowden family’s 750-acre Boswidjack Farm, in Constantine and was first rented to Mr Smyth-Tyrrell in 1993 for just £400 a year

‘If they had a made a fortune, recouping their expenditure many times over, Mr Bowden could not have complained.

‘Mr and Mrs Smyth-Tyrrell have had what they bargained for, and indeed more.. Enough is enough.’

The judge’s ruling opens the way for Mr Bowden to seek possession of Mellinzeath from Mr and Mrs Smyth-Tyrrell.  



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