Is applying to FTT to appoint manager my best option?

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    Is applying to FTT to appoint manager my best option?

    I own a long leasehold in a purpose-built flat comprising of just two flats. The freeholder also owns and resides in the flat that is directly above me.
    Despite numerous attempts to get him to carry out essential maintenance to the property as per the provisions in the lease (about a third of the properties roof has now been covered in tarpaulin for well over a year because parts of the roof need replacing) he simply ignores any request by me to rectify these issues.

    Along with the roof, there is a long list of works that are overdue and would be deemed 'Major works' that are covered by various covenants in the lease but the freeholder just ignores any requests and seems to want the building to fall into a state of disrepair.

    Has anyone got any experience with applying to the FTT to appoint a manager and do you think it would be the best way forward in my situation?

    Any help would be much appreciated.


    #2
    Dear Tom

    You are indeed in a difficult position since you cannot buy the freehold.

    Personally, I would avoid applying to the FTT to appoint a manager given reports of high charges and little by way of recourse usually open to leaseholders once a manager is in place.

    In the first instance, I would suggest contacting LEASE for advice since there may be a clause or clauses by which you could initiate works. Alternatively, assuming the lease backs this up, you could sue (or at least threaten to sue) the freeholder for breach which may bring about a resolution. After contacting LEASE you may well be advised to use a solicitor to write to the freeholder as this will carry more weight than a letter from you.

    Above said, you did not indicate the nature of your attempts to encourage the freeholder to carry out works. It may be you need to write a polite letter expressing concerns about works required and list these before escalating matters.

    Presumably your lease dictates you are responsible for 50% of the cost of any works. If this is not the case, it may be the reason the freeholder is unwilling to proceed. In this event, you might offer to pay 50%.

    You may wish to post more about the background which may assist others to comment.



    Comment


      #3
      It is extremely unlikely that applying to the FTT to appoint a manager will assist you. It will be difficult to find a manager who will agree to take on a building consisting of 2 units. You then face the problem that you will have no control over that manager, who will report to the FTT and not to you. It will only take a manager to report to the FTT that the building will fall into disrepair again and the manager will be reappointed indefinitely.Your ability to sell the property will be adversely affected by the presence of a manager.

      Your best options seem to be to try to persuade the freeholder to be sensible, or to sell.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate it.

        Yes, the lease states that I would be liable for 50% of the costs (which I am happy to pay).

        There is the attached clause in the lease, for if a dispute arises but don't really understand how it could be enforced if the freeholder chooses not to cooperate.

        I have got a call with LEASE tomorrow.

        Comment


          #5
          i will write the clause below as the photo appears to be too blurry.

          Comment


            #6
            'At all times during the term hereby granted to keep in good substantial repair the walls, floors, roof & exterior of the building of which the flat forms part of.'

            'It is hereby agreed & declared between the lessor & lessees as follows:

            1) In case at any time during the demise any dispute shall arise between the lessees and the lessor concerning the party or other walls, structures, foundations, roof, fences, way, passageways, pathways, sewers, drains, pipes or any combined drainage system of the watercourse & other easements rights appurtenances whatsoever relating or belonging to the property of which the demised premises forms part of any repairs thereto or the contribution in respect of the expenses of such repairs as herein provided or any nuisance or annoyance arising therefrom then and in every such case such disputes shall be referred to the determination and award of a chartered surveyor to be agreed upon by the lessor and lessees and in default of such agreement by a surveyor to be appointed by the President for the time being of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors upon the application of either the lessor and lessees and the award of such surveyor (howsoever appointed) shall be final and binding upon the lessor and the lessees.'

            Comment


              #7
              What is the heading the above clause appears under?

              Comment


                #8
                Hi vmart,

                If you are referring to.... 'At all times during the term hereby granted to keep in good substantial repair the walls, floors, roof & exterior of the building of which the flat forms part of.' then the heading that it appears under is.... 'The lessor hereby covenants with the lessees in manner following, that is to say:-

                but if you are referring to..'1) In case at any time during the demise any dispute shall arise between the lessees and the lessor concerning the party or other walls, structures, foundations, roof, fences, way, passageways, pathways, sewers, drains, pipes or any combined drainage system of the watercourse & other easements rights appurtenances whatsoever relating or belonging to the property of which the demised premises forms part of any repairs thereto or the contribution in respect of the expenses of such repairs as herein provided or any nuisance or annoyance arising therefrom then and in every such case such disputes shall be referred to the determination and award of a chartered surveyor to be agreed upon by the lessor and lessees and in default of such agreement by a surveyor to be appointed by the President for the time being of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors upon the application of either the lessor and lessees and the award of such surveyor (howsoever appointed) shall be final and binding upon the lessor and the lessees.' then the heading that it appears under is..'It is hereby agreed & declared between the lessor & lessees as follows:'

                Any advice or help is greatly appreciated.
                Many thanks, Tom

                Comment


                  #9
                  From the part below these are lessor's obligations which include the roof. Therefore, you may be able to pursue the freeholder for breach. But also note previous comments (mine/others) and you have still not explained the nature of your attempts to encourage the freeholder to carry out works. It may be you need to write a polite letter expressing concerns about works required and list these before escalating matters.

                  Further, clause 1) might help which binds both lessor and lessee to use an independent third party to settle disputes.

                  "If you are referring to.... 'At all times during the term hereby granted to keep in good substantial repair the walls, floors, roof & exterior of the building of which the flat forms part of.' then the heading that it appears under is.... 'The lessor hereby covenants with the lessees in manner following, that is to say:-"

                  Lawcruncher may read your post and would likely be able to give an informed opinion. Most of us on here are not experts or legally qualified and just express opinions sometimes based on experience.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi, yes so we have had many polite & friendly conversations which always appear to go well but never amount to anything and this has been followed up with polite letters & emails with photographic evidence expressing our concerns but we don't ever get any progress.

                    It's all very frustrating and becoming increasingly difficult to live with. In the last twelve months alone we have had water ingress from above on eight separate occasions as well as the asbestos roof taken off our garage roof without notice (week before xmas) and dumped outside our kitchen window, resulting in an unusable garage and a kitchen window that we do not feel safe opening due to the dumped broken asbestos immediately outside of our kitchen window.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Tom H View Post
                      'At all times during the term hereby granted to keep in good substantial repair the walls, floors, roof & exterior of the building of which the flat forms part of.'

                      'It is hereby agreed & declared between the lessor & lessees as follows:

                      1) In case at any time during the demise any dispute shall arise between the lessees and the lessor concerning the party or other walls, structures, foundations, roof, fences, way, passageways, pathways, sewers, drains, pipes or any combined drainage system of the watercourse & other easements rights appurtenances whatsoever relating or belonging to the property of which the demised premises forms part of any repairs thereto or the contribution in respect of the expenses of such repairs as herein provided or any nuisance or annoyance arising therefrom then and in every such case such disputes shall be referred to the determination and award of a chartered surveyor to be agreed upon by the lessor and lessees and in default of such agreement by a surveyor to be appointed by the President for the time being of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors upon the application of either the lessor and lessees and the award of such surveyor (howsoever appointed) shall be final and binding upon the lessor and the lessees.'
                      You may find that the above is void following the introduction of CLRA 2002, please refer to RICS Code of Practice 3rd Edition paragraph 5.3

                      https://www.rics.org/globalassets/ri...ition-rics.pdf

                      As above others may offer further advice.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        We had a situation where our freeholder failed to take any action over a leaking roof for months and months. I sought advice via the LEASE helpline.

                        I made things a lot more formal, used their wording to send a notice of disrepair, outlining the issues, with dates and photos. And including the section of lease that showed it was the freeholders responsibility and a breach of his obligations. And asking for a response within a set time period to include his plan of action.

                        No response, so I then then followed a process over the following months where I sent a few more letters, each asking for responses in set periods of time, and setting out that I would complete the work and invoice him for his 60% share, unless works done in xx timeframe.

                        Eventually followed this through and got the roof repaired. I voiced freeholder. He didn't pay. So went through Money Claims process and eventually he got a CCJ and I got payment for his share and the roof was fixed.

                        Was quite stressful and totally killed any working relationship we might have had with the freeholder, but for us, there wasn't another option really.

                        Having since learned a lot more about the FTT, I'm not at all sure getting a manager appointed would help you much - or that it would happen at this stage.

                        Best of luck

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You can sue him which in my experience is easier and more fruitful than appointing a manager..he is in breach of the lease you can claim damages, this could also cover the cost of getting someone in to do the work that needs doing although it can be bit complicated...it maybe worth just suing for breach for a nominal amount this may give him a kick up the behind...
                          Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                          I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                          It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                          Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            At least you are on speaking terms with the freeholder, that it is much better than most, Have you asked him why he is not complying with the lease? Is he aware of his responsibilities? Does he understand what will happen next? Have you explained that you do not wish to take legal action and spoil the relationship, such as it is? It is a question of trying to understand what is necessary to make him act. You could suggest mediation if you are unable to agree.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              And sometimes the Appointed Manager doesn't even report to the FTT or follow the Management Order but simply does what he wants to.

                              Comment

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