I recently wrote a short article on a Right to Manage case that had reached the Courts and noted that you do not see too many RTM decisions. The main reason for this is that the scope for defending a claim is really quite limited. That said, some landlords can be reluctant to lose control of management functions as they can derive a useful additional income through insurance commissions and management fees if they undertake the block management themselves. There is therefore an incentive to try and repel an approach by the RTM leaseholders.
One such example of this was decided at the end of September, Assethold Ltd -v- 15 Yonge Park RTM Co Ltd. In that case the RTM Company’s notice specified an incorrect address. Saving defective statutory notices can be tricky, even after the Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd case in 1997. There is a saving provision in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 which meant that mistakes in certain particulars in the notice would not be fatal to the claim. However, the very straightforward registered office requirement was not one of those particulars and this failing was fatal to the claim.
Commercially, there is little real consequence in this decision aside from the adverse costs that the leaseholders may now face. If the notice was invalid then arguably it was of no effect anyway and the process can easily be started again. However, it serves as a reminder of the importance of being procedurally beyond reproach in what are essentially adversarial proceedings.