Council leaseholders, those who exercised the right to buy or those who bought from them, have been facing very hefty major works charges, perhaps particularly in London. When repairs have been carried out alongside Decent Homes programmes, or as large scale works of roof and window replacement have gone ahead, major works charges per household of £20,000 or more have not been uncommon, with some reaching £40,000 or £50,000. While there have been successful challenges to these on occasion, those challenges are the exception.
The DCLG is now proposing to cap charges for repairs recoverable by Councils. The proposed cap is £10,000 (or £15,000 in London) over a 5 year … Read the full post
I want to put this post in context:
(a) I write this post for myself and do not necessarily speak on behalf of the other NL writers.
(b) I have enormous respect for Shelter. I have friends who work there. I make regular donations to Shelter. We have lots of Shelter readers who we love and respect. The world is a better place because of Shelter.
(c) I also despair of the ability of “progressives” or the “left” to degenerate into in-fighting over who can be the most ideologically pure (witness the recent nonsense criticism of Jack Monroe and whether she represents the “right sort” of poverty) and sincerely hope … Read the full post
as the Rolling Stones didn’t quite say. In Re: Anna Christie  UKUT 327 (LC), the Upper Tribunal was faced with an application for permission to appeal out of time. The appellant was the long leaseholder of a flat; LB Southwark was her landlord. There had been an LVT hearing concerning disputed service charges in which Southwark had been mostly successful. The LVT decision was issued on April 20, 2011.
On April 25, 2013 (i.e. almost two years after the LVT decision), the appellant sought permission to appeal. The LVT refused that application, noting that applications for permission to appeal had to be made within 21 days of the … Read the full post
By s.87, Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, the Secretary of State has power to approve codes of practice in relation to the management of residential long leasehold blocks. Currently, he has approved (for non-retirement properties) the 2nd Edn of the RICS Code. Well, those nice people at RICS are consulting on the 3rd Edn of their code (here) and I’d imagine that the Secretary of State will approve it in due course. So, anyone with an interest in these matters should respond to RICS, ASAP and, in any event, before August 30, 2013.… Read the full post
Barney v Eastern Green Ltd  UKUT 331 (LC) is a helpful little reminder of the (limited) power of the LVT (FTT(PC)) to review apportionment issues in service charges. In the present case, the landlord had (pursuant to a term in the lease) reapportioned service charges in respect of insurance costs to reflect the commercial/residential split in the building. The leaseholders challenged this. Their appeal failed and the case reminds us of how to approach these cases:
(a) where the lease provides for a specific percentage, the LVT cannot go behind that apportionment (see Schilling v Canary Riverside Development Pte Ltd LRX/26/2005);
(b) if, however, the lease provides for a … Read the full post
Keeney Construction Ltd v Dr Zoe Brooke and others  UKUT 329 (LC) is an odd little case (an opening phrase I tend to use a lot when talking about UT appeals). The substantive issue concerned a lease variation application under s.35, Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. We’re not told much about that application, but can infer that the service charge percentages were in some way defective. After a contested application, the LVT (as it was then) agreed to increase the service charges payable by the leaseholders, but sought further submissions on what (if any) compensation to award under s.38(10).
The leaseholders submitted a claim for over £70,000. Those submissions … Read the full post
There are those who say that service charges are a dry subject. To them I say, welcome to Wallace-Jarvis v (1) Optima (Cambridge) Ltd (2) Khazai  UKUT 328 (LC).
The leaseholders at a development were concerned that their service charges were too high and, in particular, their communal water costs. They couldn’t really put their fingers on what was wrong with the charges, but they just seemed too high. Perhaps there was a leak. Perhaps a commerical unit was using the residential supply.
The LVT hadn’t been impressed. It agreed that the charges looked high (over £20K p.a.) but the demands were before the LVT and, in the absence … Read the full post