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Meanwhile, back in Parliament

By J

There was a short (and not particularly well-informed) debate in Westminster Hall yesterday about leasehold property management. Quite amusingly, Nick Boles MP (Under-Secretary of State at CLG) had this to say about the Right to Manage:

Nick Boles:… I want briefly to address the right-to-manage legislation. I must admit that this is the first time I have ever heard about it, so I may not make as much sense as hon. Members deserve. The leasehold right-to-manage legislation is designed to be available to as many private sector leaseholders living in blocks of flats as possible. The right was designed for use on a block-by-block basis. Applying the legislation to estates is complex and might result in the right becoming less, rather than more, accessible.” (emphasis added)

Well, the Upper Tribunal has disagreed with that last bit. In Ninety Broomfield Road RTM Co Ltd and lots of other cases [2013] UKUT 606 (LC) (published on Tuesday), the Upper Tribunal held that there was no problem with one RTM company taking over a whole estate. We’ll do a proper UT(LC) round up shortly, but I confess that this made me smile.


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.


  1. Greg Robbins

    Only indirectly linked, but showing how the thinking is not joined up, there is also the right to manage for tenants and the right to transfer, which could be to a registered provider set up just for the estate. The guidance issued just a few weeks ago only allows for any support for estates of 500 or more properties and all but rules out transfers of less than 100. Why is it presumed that it would be too difficult for large estates containing leaseholders and not viable for similarly sized groups of housing with tenants and leaseholders ? There is little logic to any of their thinking.

    • AM

      I assisted my brother with right to manage on a council estate,and with due allowance for the wider roles that their ALMO has, the whole process was bewideringly complex and inconsistent. The most frustrating part was the circular nature of it – any revision as a result of negotiations led to a “start over with a new starting point” rather than adaptation. The much maligned objections to RTM in the private sector are childs play compared to this.

  2. AM

    I agree with your comment, however perhaps he was referring to, or was briefed accordingly, on issues where the estate is mixed tenure. For example freehold houses and other “appur long word I can never spell :)” premises, and the often bizarre situation where a few houses and a patch of road or half a garden is still managed by the freeholder. I can’t recall the case name but was amused by the decisions that the two parties (FH and RTM)could resolve it between themselves! They had appealed the LVT decision as they clearly could not. Given the lack of comprehensive rights for houseowners, who often pay “service charge”, perhaps RTM and RTE could be tweaked to allow their inclusion.

    Carlex and LKP have been “shaking the House” and I wonder if this is a case of him and a passing bandwagon. It certainly reflects their bashing of RTM and the delays in two notable cases over what they report as spurious delays: a weatherboard preventing vertical division and the failure to include “RTM” in the company name.

    • J

      I’m not sure it’s fair to be quite so critical of the Deansgate case (weatherboarding) or the Fairhold Mercury case (RTM name). Having read both, (a) in Deansgate, it’s clear that three text books agreed with the argument for the landlord and, (b) in Fairhold Mercury, the argument was that other companies have to specify their nature (ltd or plc) so why is an RTM company different? And, again, the landlord did get permission to appeal in each one, so someone clearly thought it was arguable!

      • AM

        I happen to agree with you J, although I am not sure the plc issue would convince as it did say “Ltd”. I would argue that RTM is important in identifying the company to owners and to those trading with the company, so that they realise they have a distinct financial position- most of their cash is ringfenced under section 42. My point was that given the political profile of the bashers, his breifing and understanding was “guided” by that.

        • J

          Well, you say “political profile” – does a back bench Tory amount to profile? :-)

        • AM

          I was thinking of the profile of the bashers, LKP and Carlex, having roped in Bottomley and Fitzpatrick etc. Their profile in political circles is relatively high at present, or so they assert..
          It is amusing that he sais that he had not ever heard of RTM until then but somehow, in the space of 3 sentences, had reached an informed opinion on it…hmmm. I rather think that he thought it would raise his profile by jumping on the bandwagon. The grey vote perhaps?

  3. AM

    Your round up is eagerly anticipated- I know a number of RICS and IRPM people looking forward to it to top up their CPD returns perhaps -you should charge. :)

    • chief

      If I can be forgiven for tooting my own horn (as it were) there is now a roundup on the recent UT(LC) RTM cases here. Not sure people would have been looking forward to it so much had they known that I’d be doing it rather than J, but critics are already calling it “long” and “resplendent with precisely 1 Bob Dylan reference”.


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