Published by: James Khakpour-Smith

Time to take control - your right to manage

If you own a flat and are dissatisfied with the Landlord maintenance of its communal parts or the cost of this maintenance then you can take control of these services and costs using your Right to Manage (“RTM”).

This right allows leaseholders to force the transfer of the Landlord’s management functions to a special company that is set up and controlled by those leaseholders. As a leaseholder you can then directly control the management and costs for the communal parts or appoint a new company to do this on your terms.

However, in order to exercise your RTM there are important issues to consider and work to be done before doing so as well as a technical process to follow when exercising this right.  It is therefore essential that a suitably qualified and experienced solicitor certified in this area of law is engaged.

That solicitor will assist with checking eligibility for the RTM and guide the leaseholders in setting up the RTM, as well as explaining to the leaseholders the benefits and responsibilities connected with exercising their RTM.   The solicitor will then assess and establish the claim as against the Landlord and then convey the interests in the management of the common parts to the RTM company.

The importance of appointing the appropriate solicitor was emphasised only this year in the case of Triplerose Limited -v- Ninety Broomfield Road RTM Company Limited whereby the RTM was incorrectly exercised.  In this case, the Court of Appeal decided that the leaseholder’s solicitor’s approach was incorrect because the RTM claim was prepared on the basis that one RTM Company could manage several blocks on one estate. As a result, those leaseholders incurred a lot of time and expense without having the right properly exercised.  In this particular case, the solicitors should have advised the leaseholders to set up one RTM company for each building and, where appropriate, to have then formed a joint management entity for those blocks.