The title of “First-tier Tribunal – Property Chamber (Residential Property)” is cumbersome. It’s not surprising that as this name changed recently from Leasehold Valuation Tribunal or LVT most people still use the old name.
The Tribunal has five offices around England to offer an independent service to help with settling all sorts of disputes involving leasehold or rented property. There are different systems in Wales and Scotland who have their own official bodies for hearing these sorts of disputes.
In England, the Tribunal has the powers to resolve some sorts of property disputes which would otherwise end up in the courts. It aims to provide an easy and cheap way to access justice. There are fees payable for some types of disputes heard by the Tribunal, but there are no fees for hearing cases about process paid to extend a lease or to buy a building’s freehold.
The Tribunal does not get involved with any sorts of disputes regarding commercial properties.
What people make up Tribunals?
Each Tribunal has a regional judge. This judge is helped by one of more Deputy judges and valuers, who take responsibility for members of the Tribunal and decide which members are best suited to hear a particular case. The members of the Tribunal are given their position by the Lord Chancellor.
The Chairman of the Tribunal is a judge or surveyor, who takes overall responsibility for the case and writes the report giving the decision. Other members of the Tribunal might be surveyors, lay people or other property professionals. Occasionally a Chairman might sit alone, but most often there are three people on a Tribunal.
Powers of the Tribunal
The Tribunal decides on various aspects of disputes about the valuation and terms when acquiring residential leasehold property.
The Tribunal can also determine:
• What price should be paid to the landlord to extend a lease or when a single leaseholder wants to go ahead with leasehold enfranchisement (enfranchisement is also known as collective or freehold enfranchisement and involves the purchase of the freehold of a block of flats by a group of leaseholders)their block) and can’t come to an agreement with the landlord.
• The level of costs payable to the landlord when he or she is dealing with an application for extending a lease or enfranchisement.
• How much should be paid and what terms should be in the agreement when one leaseholder wants to extend their lease and cannot agree the price with their landlord.
• The costs for collective enfranchisement when this cannot be agreed with the landlord. (Collective enfranchisement is also known as freehold enfranchisement and involves the purchase of the freehold of a block of flats by a group of leaseholders).
• Issues about who should pay a service charge, who should it be paid to, when it should be paid and how much that service of administration charge should be.
• When the freeholder or landlord is absent and cannot be traced, the Tribunal can in his absence agree the price to be paid for the leasehold extension or freehold purchase.
• Whether long leases on flats can be varied
• Whether a RTM company (right to manage) should be granted the right to manage on a given date
• Whether the requirement on the landlord to consult leaseholders before charging for major works through the service charge should be modified or dispensed with
• When the landlord cannot be traced, whether the RTM company can acquire the right to manage
• The amount of uncommitted service charges due by a third party, landlord or managing agent to a RTM company
• The costs payable to the landlord (or other party except the tenant and landlord) or a manager who is appointed in a right to manage
• Whether the covenants or conditions in a residential property lease have been breached
The Tribunal process
Preparation is key when it comes to a FTT hearing and gathering evidence is a key element. It is what the case will largely be decided upon and both sides will be able to put forward their arguments based on such. The Tribunal will question the parties involved and probe into both arguments. After hearing all the evidence at hand the FTT will take their time to come to a resolution. Due to the length of the process those involved may not hear the outcome of their tribunal for anytime up to one year.
Looking for Solicitors to Represent You at a Residential Property Tribunal. Call our Specialists
Our team of enfranchisement and lease extension specialists work closely with our property dispute litigators – so if you’re having a problem with buying your freehold or extending your lease, and think that it might require a Tribunal application, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And don’t forget we offer FREE initial phone advice.
- Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
- email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.
Comments or questions are welcome.