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Time after time

By J

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 makes provision, inter alia, for the LVT to appoint a manager (which may include the functions of a receiver) over residential premises. There are, as you might imagine, qualifying conditions relating both to the applicants (leaseholders) and the property (flats) and, most importantly, it depends on the LVT being satisfied that there has been one of a prescibed list of management failings (see s.24, 1987 Act, e.g. unreasonable service charges). If the LVT appoints a manager, they usually do for a period of two to three years.

In Eaglesham Properties Ltd v Jeffrey [2012] UKUT 157 (LC) the Upper Tribunal had to grapple with the ability of the LVT to extend an interim appointment after it had expired.

The property in question was a block of 12 flats. In 2009, the LVT had appointed a manager over the property. It was satisifed that a manager should be appointed, but had some reservations about the management plan of the proposed new (LVT appointed) manager, and so appointed him for what was described as an “interim period” of one year. What was to happen at the end of that period was, sadly, unclear. The leaseholders thought the LVT would list a hearing. The LVT thought the manager/leaseholders would apply for a new order. Neither was done and so the appointment expired.

The landlord then notified the leaseholders that, in its view, the management had reverted to it. At this stage an LVT hearing was finally listed. The LVT held that it could extend the (now expired) interim order. The landlord appealed against this decision.

The UT allowed the appeal. Once the interim order had lapsed there was no jurisdiction to extend it. The only option was to issue a fresh application.

I’m not sure the case needs much further comment. It’s obviously right. Whilst frustrating for the leaseholders, it does show the importance of diarising dates and acting in good time.

J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.


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