With a cloud over the country’s largest Property Management provider, many tenants have woken up to the risks of their managing agent going bust. Many others complain of poor management from agents who are largely unregulated and largely unaccountable to tenants.
What is the solution? Well, one solution is for tenants to take control of the management functions under the lease themselves using the Right to Manage provisions introduced under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. An alternative in the case of repeated breaches of the landlord’s covenants in the lease is to apply to the Leasehold Valuation tribunal for the appointment of a manager to act in place of the landlord or its agent.
The second of those processes can be contested by a landlord and I will discuss it in a blog post another time.
One of the first questions to ask is do you qualify to exercise the right to manage?
Are at least two thirds of the flats in the building let to qualifying tenants (ie leases originally in excess of 21 years)?
- Does the residential element exceed 75% of the total internal floor area?
- Do more than half the qualifying tenants want to proceed?
Then, if your building is not a purpose built block with less than 4 flats in it check to make sure that the freeholder or an adult member of their family is not and has not been resident in the block as their principal home during the last 12 months. If not, then you are ready to move forward with:
a) Forming the RTM Company;
b) Serving notice of invitation;
c) Serving notice of claim
While in my experience participating tenants are reluctant to invest in taking professional advice upon these formalities, when dealing with an often reluctant landlord it often pays off to have professional advisers in your corner as landlords can be determined to exploit any procedural irregularity in order to resist a claim.
The landlord will have the opportunity to either admit or contest the claim. If it is admitted you will end up taking over as at the date specified in your notice or if successful on a contested claim after the determination of the LVT.