By J
03/06/2013

Leasehold round up

We do try here to keep on top of the work of the UT(LC) and so I bring you the following for your delight and enjoyment.

First up comes Triplerose Ltd v (1) Grantglen Ltd (2) Cane Developments Ltd [2012] UKUT 204 (LC), a case all about s.47, Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. You’ll remember that this is the provision that requires all demands for, inter alia, service charges, to contain the name and address of the landlord. In Beitov, it was held that this provision meant what is said and that giving the address of an agent was not sufficient. Well, in Triplerose, the demand had not given the name of the landlord (which was a company) but had given the name of a director of the company. The LVT had not been worried by this, saying that there was no prejudice to Triplerose.

The UT allowed an appeal. Name and address of the landlord meant exactly what it said. The name of a director of the landlord company was not enough. Prejudice simply didn’t arise.

Which brings us to Kolup Investments Ltd v Al-Dhahir [2013] UKUT 136 (LC). This one has a special place in the hearts of the NL team. Counsel for the appellant was Amanda Gourlay of the excellent Law and Lease blog and the solicitors were Anthony Gold who, as some of you will have realised, have quite a lot to do with the NL blog. Good people all and available at remarkably reasonable rates.

In short, there was a block of flats, most of which were let on long leases but some (three, I think) of which were retained by the landlord. There had been proceedings in the LVT in 2009 relating to proposed boiler replacement works and possible reasonable costs. There were then second LVT proceedings relating to the costs of the 2009 case; the landlord sought to recover them through the service charge but the LVT held that no costs were recoverable. It accepted that the lease allowed for the recovery of the costs, but held that the costs had not been incurred by the landlord qua landlord, but, rather, in its capacity as owner of the three flats. Further, it held that the 2009 proceedings were a charade as the landlord had never intended to do any boiler replacement works at all.

The Upper Tribunal allowed an appeal. The fact that the appellant retained three flats did not mean that it was somehow not acting as a landlord; the whole issue was a red-herring. The reasoning by the LVT was inadequate and could not stand. Nor could it be said that the proceedings were a charade. It was clear that there had been a serious dispute in 2009 about the proposed works and that the LVT determination had been sought against that background. The UT quashed the LVT decision and held that the only legally sustainable conclusion was that the costs were properly recoverable through the service charge, together with various of the costs of the second LVT case and the UT appeal.

 

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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