The residents of Brixton Hill Court have won their right to manage application after their first attempt saw them looking at legal costs of £42,000, subsequently reduced to around £25,000.
The ruling is dated September 27, which means there is still a possibility of the freeholder appealing.
After the disaster of the first application, the residents contacted the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, which highlighted the case as yet another example of freeholders deploying expensive legal teams to frustrate RTM.
The residents application had been handled by a London solicitors’ practice, which had made successful RTM applications in the past, but not against a freeholder determined to resist.
LKP advised the residents to use the services of the Right To Manage Federation, headed by Dudley Joiner. It has taken around 250 blocks to right to manage, including more than 70 retirement blocks, and has successfully fought against freeholders using every legal stratagem to hold on to the property management.
In both actions at Brixton Hill Court, the freeholder Springquote Limited, whose directors are given as Rivka Gross, 66, and Abraham Y Klein, 51, of north London, deployed Liverpool solicitors JB Leitch and barrister Adrian Carr, of Tanfield Chambers.
The RTMF uses the services of lawyer Margarita Madjirska-Mossop, of Mayfield Law, who at one point worked for the Leasehold Advisory Service.
The ruling granted by Judge Mrs N Haria could be appealed, but appears robust. It will be at significant financial risk if the Springquote decides to appeal.
The freehold owners’ barrister Adrian Carr claimed the freeholders had suffered prejudice because although they owned 10 flats in the block and had not received “notice of invitation to participate” in the RTM.
This was like a “person who has not received an invitation to a party”, he said.
But he could produce no witness statements, while the tribunal found that solicitor James Compton, who handled Brixton Hill Court’s original application, and resident Dorothy Leiper, who had organised the notices for the RTM, were “honest and credible”.
An attempt by Carr to persuade the tribunal that the RTM issues had already been raised in the previous hearing and therefore should not be argued anew also failed.
“Ms Madjirska-Mossop stated that the tribunal should weigh up any prejudice to the respondent against prejudice to her client. She also pointed out that there is public interest in certainty in proceedings and parties are entitled to be able to get on with their lives …
“The tribunal finds the public interest argument put forward by Ms Madjirska-Mossop compelling. The tribunal is of the view that it is in the interests of justice and in the interests of the parties for there to be finality in legal proceedings which extends also to efficiency and economy in litigation.”
LKP has repeatedly expressed its frustration at property tribunals turning down right to manage applications owing to expensive lawyers disputing the most petty and pedantic errors in the application.
Judge Naria is to be congratulated for seeing the wider issues at play at Brixton Hill Court, where the residents have already lost £25,000 is seeking to exercise their “right” to manage the block themselves.
“We are absolutely delighted that this issue seems at last to have been resolved,” said resident Angela Saul, 78, one of the Brixton Hill Court RTM company directors.
“Obtaining right to manage should not be as difficult as this and it has cost us all thousands of pounds to achieve.”
The full ruling can be read here:
Congratulations to the leaseholders. A very good decision. However, since the Tribunal is intended to be suitable for lay applicants what the heck is the Judge doing referring to “res judicata”? Latin was meant to have gone from the courts years ago.
Some of the original Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation members were faced with a claim that “the matter had been decided before” and the case ended before they even knew what the Latin gibberish spoken by the chair meant.
Unless the leaseholders want to tell us the term “res judicata” was clearly explained during the hearing LKP will be writing to the president of the tribunal to remind her that Latin terms are not meant to be used in a lay court to the exclusion of some of the parties in attendance.
Ave! Ave! Hic dixit Boydius veritatis colosseo. And other codswollopia ad infinitum
What memories! My Latin Teacher was an absolute stunner. I asked her out for a date, but she declined!
Congrats to the RTM Company on a well deserved success. What a relief it must be.
It’s a great pity to see a reputable firm like Tanfield behaving like … a hackney cab? but hardly a surprise.
I presume you mean the “first cab on the rank principal” which means the “first cab takes the first job”
This is the principal the law works on, so if someone approached Tanfield, they would have great difficulty in not providing legal services.(and of course they must deploy every legal argument possible on behalf of their client). Of course this principal also means a leaseholder could approach JB Leitch to represent them against a freeholder. Now that would be fun!
No, not the principle I had in mind.. I substituted hackney cab instead of referring to an older profession willing to do almost anything for money. Mercenaries were what I had in mind, of course.
Please don’t equate the “oldest profession” with some (and we know who) in the Freehold/PropertyManagement sector. at least with the “oldest profession” you get something for your money!
I understand Liverpool based JB Leitch have made a record, called Ferry Across the Merceniary!
Another good news story…. this gives others going through the same scenario hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.Congratulation to the owners and to the RTMF and Ms Madjirska-Mossop.
As for the use of latin by the judge! This just proves the whole system is just full of pontification and pivel to justify their own positions…
To pontificate is to express your opinion in an annoying way, often because you go on too long or because you are too much of a know-it-all.
An example of pontificate is the actions of a self-important professor who rambles on and on.
This hard fought and magnificent victory for the Brixton Hill Court RTM company, should also put the “Ground Rent Graizers” that the “expected” income they have borrowed against can be taken away.
Re Last Comment Typo, Pleae add “On Notice
RTM doesn’t affect the obligation to pay ground rent (and you could still face forfeiture for non-payment).
You are absolutely correct. What i refer to is the situation where companies (known as Ground Rent Graizers) buy up freeholds using large loans to fund the purchase and securing those loans against not just the freeholds, but the income they can derive from innocent leaseholders by inflating insurance commissions, or appointing themselves as managing agents. In effect they use leaseholders money to fund themselves.