LVT Determination of Reasonableness

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    LVT Determination of Reasonableness

    Hello,

    My landlord has applied to LVT for a determination of reasonableness in respect of 2 years worth of service charges. I, along with the other 9 tenants in the block have been named as respondents in the application. However, I am presently up to date with all service charges- as confirmed by the management company. I was also in date prior to the submission of the documents to the LVT and so cannot see why I have been named as a respondent. The solicitor acting for the landlord was sent a copy of my most recent account by the management company (Jan 13) confirming a zero balance.

    My concern at this juncture is that in the event of the landlord gaining costs, that these will be added to my future service charges, despite my having paid everything in accordance with the lease. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

    I spoke to the Rent Assessment Board this morning and they said that only the freeholder could remove me from the case. Likewise they confirmed that were I to apply for an S20C that this would be viewed as an application for all of the respondents and that the tribunal does not have the power to absolve distinct parties from any costs that are awarded to the freeholder. Having paid up, I don't see why I should bear the cost for other tenants who have failed to do so.....

    Grateful for any advice.

    Arch

    #2
    I suspect that the landlord suspects a challenge, or is conmceendabnout future challenges asa resut of a recnt high court decision, but dont get sidetracked on that.

    Despite your having no issue, you might
    a review their application
    b discuss with neighbours their views
    c if there are grounds for dispute use the opportunity

    and most importantly read the lease to see if the lease allows the inclusion of such costs in the service charge, and if a section 20c application is required.

    If no one has raised objections or are in dispute or are in arrears or likely to result in litigation then it is strong argument for s20c limitation as to why the LL needs to determine and then incur costs and have them recovered.

    As a side note to other members it was suggested in jest that post Daejan, agents and landlords get together and seek enmasse determination and break the LVT system to force legislation to overturn Phillips.
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by archlondon View Post
      Hello,

      My landlord has applied to LVT for a determination of reasonableness in respect of 2 years worth of service charges.
      As LHA's says, The LL is most likely trying to protect himself from a future claim by leaseholders. Or making sure they are reasonable so that he can continue to charge on a similar basis in future years.

      If this happened to me I would take a good hard look at the service charges and see if you can spot anything wrong with them. Service charges can be limited for the following reasons: i) whether charges are reasonably incurred (e.g. the lease allows recovery) ii) reasonable in amount iii) failure to consult where costs of works are more than £250 per leaseholder iv) demanded more than 18 months after being incurred.

      Post up the details on here if you want members to see if they can spot anything wrong with them.


      My concern at this juncture is that in the event of the landlord gaining costs, that these will be added to my future service charges, despite my having paid everything in accordance with the lease. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
      Check your lease and make a s20C application anyway.

      Likewise they confirmed that were I to apply for an S20C that this would be viewed as an application for all of the respondents and that the tribunal does not have the power to absolve distinct parties from any costs that are awarded to the freeholder.
      This doesn't surprise me. LVT's have a habit of trying to deal with more than they are being asked to. s20C orders should only apply in the case of the person making the application.
      I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

      Comment


        #4
        The Landlord has to include all the leaseholders in the LVT judgement to ensure nobody can escape payment of service charge judgement . So its better give your support to the other leaseholders.

        The way out is for leaseholders to collectively buy the freehold or sell else your flat.

        Comment


          #5
          All,

          Thanks for your answers and thoughts- gives me a lot to think about!

          Without delving too far into the matter, there are numerous problems with the service charges that have been presented and so I see little problem in making the LL look foolish at tribunal- it is merely that I had hoped having to trawl through all of this having arrived at a position whereby all of my extant liabilities were settled!

          I've had word back from the solicitor acting for the LL, who acknowledges that I owe no money and states that I have been named as a respondent as 'all leaseholders will be affected by the results of the LVT.'

          Going forward, it is my intention to sell the property but this is likely to be difficult with the spectre of an LVT hanging over me as a respondent. I had a sale fall through at exchange two weeks ago due to 'financial issues' on the buyers part- I would be willing to venture that my property being the subject of an LVT might have dissuaded the purchaser.

          I suppose that the only thing left to do is to go into bat with all of the evidence of maladministration and to apply for an S20C. I'd much rather not have to take time out to do this but it appears that the landlord's solicitor is not for turning.

          Thanks for your help and advice- I'll report back when I get a result!

          Arch

          Comment


            #6
            The alternative way is to set up RTM and replace the LL's right to run your block's service charge account. Its not going to cost much more than 500 pds for your 10 leaseholders to set up RTM and take control. Its better than risk losing 5K-10K due to lower price on sale of your property from management problems over the service charge account.

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