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How do I appoint a new manager for my building?

View profile for Bukola Obadun-Craigs
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Why appoint a new manager?

Leaseholders are very often unhappy with the management of their block. Disputes over reasonableness of service charge is one of the main reasons for looking for a change, as they see their service charges increasing without sometimes justification for the funds requested. 

High service charges are not necessarily grounds for an application to appoint a new manager, but it is certainly a reason to review whether charges are excessive and unreasonable.  Whilst considering the reasonableness of service charges and whether they reflect the maintenance and management of the building; here is a useful reminder of the options available for leaseholders.

What options do I have to replace my existing manager?

Apart from the Right to Manage, which is a right under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 for leaseholders to acquire the landlord’s management function there is a procedure available which unlike the Right to Manage does not require a majority of leaseholders to bring a claim. This is called Appointment of a Manager which is made under Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.  This application can be made to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) by one or more leaseholders of a building which contains two or more flats and must comprise of the whole or part of a building.

What reasons can leaseholders rely on in an application to appoint a new manager?

Section 24.2 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 states that the Tribunal may only make an Order under this section in the following circumstances, namely

  1. Where the tribunal is satisfied—
  1. that any relevant person either is in breach of any obligation owed by him to the tenant under his tenancy and relating to the management of the premises in question or any part of them or (in the case of an obligation dependent on notice) would be in breach of any such obligation but for the fact that it has not been reasonably practicable for the tenant to give him the appropriate notice, and
  2. that it is just and convenient to make the order in all the circumstances of the case;
  1. Where the tribunal is satisfied—
  1. that unreasonable service charges have been made, or are proposed or likely to be made, and
  2. that it is just and convenient to make the order in all the circumstances of the case;
  1. where the tribunal is satisfied—
  2. that unreasonable variable administration charges have been made, or are proposed or likely to be made, and
  3. that it is just and convenient to make the order in all the circumstances of the case;
  1. where the tribunal is satisfied—
  1. that any relevant person has failed to comply with any relevant provision of a code of practice approved by the Secretary of State under section 87 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (codes of management practice), and
  2. that it is just and convenient to make the order in all the circumstances of the case; or
  1. where the tribunal is satisfied that other circumstances exist which make it just and convenient for the order to be made.

The onus is on leaseholder(s) to provide evidence to support the application and are only permitted to provide evidence which directly relates to the reasons set out above.

Notice of intention is the first step

A leaseholder must give notice of their concerns by serving a preliminary Notice under Section 22 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 on the landlord and any person (other than the landlord) who has  obligations relating to the management of the building.

There is specific information that must be included in the Notice. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. The grounds on which the Tribunal would be able to make such and order;
  2. whether these matter(s) are capable of being remedied by the landlord or other person with obligations to the management under the Lease and;
  3. that the leaseholder intends to make an application for an Order under Section 24 of the Act.

If the landlord cannot be found, then an application can be made to dispense with the requirement to serve a preliminary Notice.

Who do you want to manage your building?

You can manage the building yourself as a leaseholder by setting up a limited company and employing your own managing agent.  Alternatively, you can nominate your choice of manager such as a managing agent with the necessary professional expertise and experience. 

Appointing a manager by the First-Tier Tribunal application process is not the same as a managing agent who works under contract with the landlord.  The managers powers derive exclusively from the Order made by the Tribunal giving leaseholders more flexibility and input into how their building is managed and maintained.

Whether you decide to manage your building as a collective group of leaseholders who appoint a managing agent or to provide the details of a managing agent you would like to be appointed on application to the First Tier Tribunal under Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 we can help you through the process.

If you have any specific questions you wish to discuss, please contact Bukola Obadun-Craigs

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