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Your Legal Toolkit - appoint a manager

Friday, 1st February 2008
 

A common complaint of tenants is that their property has been badly managed and/or the landlord is collecting excessive amounts of service/administration charges. To deal with these problems, the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) has the power to appoint a manager and/or receiver to manage the property instead of the landlord or his agent.

Pre-application procedure

The LVT regards the appointment of a manager against the wishes of the landlord to be a draconian step and will usually require certain preliminary stages to be completed.

The first step is for the tenant(s) to give a ‘preliminary notice’ to the landlord and to any other person who has management duties under the lease. A manager whose duties are not due under the lease, for example a managing agent, will not need to be served with the notice.

The notice must set out certain information such as: a statement that the tenant(s) intend to make an application for an order that a manager be appointed; the grounds on which the tenant will ask the LVT to make the order; a statement requiring the landlord or manager to remedy the problems complained of, giving a reasonable time for this to take place.

In exceptional circumstances, the LVT may waive compliance with this preliminary stage, but leaseholders will need to show good reason(s) for doing so.

There are a number of limits on the right to apply to an LVT. The most important of these are: “resident landlords” who live in the property and manage it themselves; exempt landlords (local authorities, housing corporations, charitable housing trusts, etc.); business tenancies and property subject to a Crown Interest. Such groups usually are exempt from having applications made against them.

Just and convenient

In order to exercise its powers of appointment, the LVT must be convinced that it would be just and convenient in all the circumstances to do so and:

That the person complained about is in breach of an obligation under the lease relating to the management of the property; orUnreasonable service charges have been made or are proposed or are likely to be made; or
Unreasonable variable administration charges have been, or are proposed or likely to be made; or
That there have been breaches of the relevant codes of practice under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

The LVT also has power to make an order if other, undefined circumstances exist that make it just and convenient for the order to be made.

Who can be a manager?

Although there is no requirement that an LVT appoint a professional manager, LVTs are not usually keen to appoint tenants who suggest that one of their own number be appointed. It is therefore advisable that tenants propose a professional management company, as one of the most common grounds for rejecting a proposed manager is a deemed lack of experience. Hopefully this should not be a problem with a professional management company.


As mentioned previously, the LVT regard the appointment of a manager against the wishes of the landlord to be a draconian step and the leaseholder should make sure certain preliminary stages are completed. Further, although there is no requirement that a professional manager be appointed, the LVT would prefer this to be case.

 

For further information regarding this article, contact Roger Hardwick, Head of Leasehold Enfranchisement, Brethertons Solicitors.

 

 

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News on the Block is dedicated to helping flat owners and their professional advisors with issues concerning the management and maintenance of flats. We hope that this booklet helps to demystify what can sometimes appear to be a complex world of leasehold ownership. The information contained in this booklet is in summary form only and is by no means definitive. It is merely intended as a taster, to gently nudge or direct you towards the correct answer or solution you may be looking for. Or, failing that, simply to inform. If you need to know more, then there is a list of further helpful resources at the end of this booklet.

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