By J
03/08/2013

Time isn’t on your side

as the Rolling Stones didn’t quite say. In Re 28 Pallant House [2013] 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 date on which the decision was sent to the parties and that no application had been made to extend that time. The LVT noted that it had no power to extend time once the 21 days had passed (note, it was wrong about that, see Grosvenor Estate Belgravia v Adams [2008] RVR 173).

The appellant then sought permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal. The appeal application was again filed out of time. Now, the Upper Tribunal does have power to hear applications for permission to appeal out of time, but only if it is in “the interests of justice” to do so (reg.21(6), UT(LC) rules).

The appellant argued that the LVT had not properly informed her of her rights to appeal, and relied on Sch.1 of the Tribunal Procedure (First Tier Tribunal) Rules 2008. The only problem with that was, of course, that those rules didn’t apply to the LVT.

The merits of the underlying appeal was as follows. In a subsequent case involving Southwark (LB Southwark v Woelke), the LVT had found that Southwark hadn’t demanded service charges in accordance with the lease, such that nothing was owing. The appellant in the present case wanted to rely on that decision.

The problem, said the Deputy President of the UT, was that she hadn’t taken this point before the LVT. And she was out of time. And there was a principle of finality in litigation. And the Woelke case had just resulted in Southwark issuing fresh demands (i.e. it had delayed, not extinguished, liability). In short, it was not in the interests of justice to permit the appeal to proceed after such a long delay.

 

 

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.

8 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Very interesting article, well worth a share

    [Edited by J – thanks, but I still won’t let you advertise on the blog, hence I’ve deleted the link]

    Reply
  2. Kenneth Mayo

    quick question, if property is repossessed by a bank and a receiver appointed is the previous owner, who has no legal rights over that property once a receiver has been appointed, is that previous owner responsible for the council tax even though the property was let out and the tenant left after the receiver was appointed, apparently scared off by them?
    appreciate an opinion.
    regards
    ken mayo

    Reply
    • J

      Nope – sorry. Can’t advise on individual cases via the blog. First, we say that in the “about” section. Secondly, our respective professional negligence insurers wouldn’t stand for it. Third, this is our job, so you have to pay us.

      Reply
      • Kenneth Mayo

        now that is what I call really tight – no wonder there is no real justice in this world where monetary gain comes before a good deed!!!! what would you say if a landlord acted in such a manner against a tenant – humbug

        Reply
        • Giles Peaker

          Kenneth, if we answered every request for free legal advice, we would be doing nothing else. So we don’t answer any, so as to be fair. Any tenant asking a landlord for free legal advice would not, I think, be surprised to be told no, so your comparison does not make sense.

        • LHA

          Ken there are a variety of property related forums on the web which offer good bad and laughable advice or comment.

  3. Charlotte G

    I am on the same estate and had the same demands, can you appeal retrospectively to LVT about this case even if you paid the service charge demands? Interestingly, Southwark have just issued dry warm and something else works and they have been coupled up with next year’s service charge estimates

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      You can apply about service charges already paid. Can’t say anything about what case you might have, and I can’t see why you would want to apply in relation to this case.

      Reply

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