(… which is what we have been saying all along)
Ten months after the Triplerose decision in the Court of Appeal on multi-block RTMs, the Leasehold Advisory Service has issued its advice: don’t do anything.
“The advice to the customers for now can only be to do nothing, unless the landlord starts any action of their own.
“There has been no authoritative court judgement on this point. [ie the status of existing multi block RTM’s]
“Consequently, the law is not settled and therefore, we cannot say for certain what the legal position is.”
This advice echoes that of LKP, but sits in contrast to letters sent to RTM directors by the Right To Manage “Federation”, among other commercial operators, saying directors must “Act now” and that “Your RTM company may be illegal”.
Inevitably, commercial intermediaries are seeing the Triplerose v 90 Broomfield Road RTM Co decision as a fee-earning opportunity.
It is understood that RTM directors are being advised to head off to the property tribunal, dissolve their RTM company and then set up new RTM companies for each of the blocks. LKP has seen correspondence for one site – with only two blocks and the sleepiest conceivable housing association freeholder – where fees of £4,500 were suggested.
Here there is very little risk of the freeholder doing anything at all.
LEASE is to write to Dudley Joiner, of the RTMF, “removing reliance he has placed on the previous letter [from LEASE]” which suggested its support for active intervention.
Over a number of months, LKP has discussed the Triplerose issue with government, the Land Registry and barristers.
None of the lawyers has suggested making a move unless a landlord has begun some form of action of his own.
None has suggested the multi-block RTM is or has always been illegal.
None has suggested there is no legal right to collect service charges.
Civil servants advise us that they, too, are observing events before making any decision to revise RTM law.
LKP is not aware of the usual predatory freeholders making an effort to regain control of “their” sites, although there is understood to be one. It will be interesting to observe this dispute closely.
But why haven’t the usual gameplayers in this sector made a move to topple uncongenial RTMs and win back control of their sites?
Suggestions that the Land Registry may refuse to register the sales of flats on a multi block RTM sites, seem to be without foundation. LKP is advised that it has no such plan.
The Land Registry is no longer able to register existing multi-block RTM companies that came into force before March 27 2015, but which have not previously been registered.
The registration of the RTM with the Land Registry is voluntary, and in any case a separate matter to the status of the flat.
Triplerose ruling is here:
LKP is hardly known for turning away from problems, or just sitting round and waiting.We were ones who brought about three large-scale investigations by the OFT. I think we can also make a fair claim to have done far more than anyone else, save for government officials, to help start the Law Commission report into exit fees.It took a lot of work to reach our view that existing multi-block RTMs should do nothing to change their current status.
That others reach a similar view is what we now pass on in our article.
The simple fact is we are unable to find anyone who agrees with the proposals from the Right To Manage “Federation” to change where you stand (from what we understand of them).
Lets start by correcting Dudley Joiner’s point about his planned cases providing “legal certainty”.
A lower tribunal case does not provide “legal certainty” for anything other than the specific case heard, assuming that it is not appealed.
The lower tribunal does not set legal precedent, and a different lower tribunal may reach a different conclusion.
The power to set precedent is limited to the higher courts. As we saw in the Triplerose case, that means years of litigation.
The Campaign against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation is not sitting on the fence. We are saying as loudly as we can: think very carefully before becoming part of the RTMF test case.
We have no belief that the RTMF case is certain to succeed, and we believe that it may even put you in a considerably worse position.
Our advice that you should not to change your current RTM status, unless the landlord starts an action, is based on our analysis of the issues.
That our view is echoed by many solicitors, barristers and QCs reassures us that we are calling this right.
We have also discussed the matter with government officials, ARMA, knowledgeable managing agents, the Land Registry and LEASE, whose view is now plain.
We have seen the outline of the case proposed by the RTMF.
Our view is that it may have many potential difficulties. We do not intend to review these proposals in any detail as that would only aid aggressive landlords (some of whom may be delighted that an RTM site has chosen to initiate a case).
If you are still persuaded to be part of the RTMF’s test case, and in particular if you are an RTM director, we would urge you in the strongest possible terms to seek independent legal advice about your own position.
A version of our article above will shortly be appearing in the Federation of Private Residents Association newsletter.
Would be interesting to see if Dudley finally admits that his letters to scare RTM companies about being “illegal” was another one of his “money making schemes”. Based on past experience on this site , he will no doubt again try and respond and blame others .
I think you may be a little unfair to Dudley?
According to his accounts, not many of his schemes actually end up making money!
Michael Epstein. You are right. [… REDACTED]
Admin: Please avoid personal abuse in these comments. There is no reason to believe differing views on this issue are not sincerely held.
“WHEN PROBLEMS ARISE, SOME TURN UP THEIR SLEEVES, SOME TURN UP THEIR NOSES, AND SOME DON’T TURN UP AT ALL”
The RTMF has a responsibility to advise its clients to take the safest option to minimise risk and liability. There are facts not yet in the public domain that have led us to the advice we have given. We do not make decisions lightly or impulsively. Neither are we swayed by public ridicule and criticism. We act on our own independent legal advice, which has served us well over the years.
RTMF has had no communication from LEASE on this subject. The above statement attributed to LEASE is correct. Although there is existing authority on retrospectivity there is not yet a definitive case on the precise consequences for RTM companies so affected. That is why RTMF is taking it to court to give certainty, as we have done with many other RTM issues over the last 10 years. Whether we are right or wrong, only time will tell.
Our clients rely on us for assistance. We do not have the luxury of sitting on the fence. We are facilitators. We have to make decisions.
“On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who at the dawn of decision sat down to wait, and in waiting died.” (Sam Ewing)
Dudley, I am not qualified to comment on the activities of the RTMF.
But I agree there is a great reluctance on many to solve the problems in the Leasehold Industry.
Top of that list I would place The Government, ARMA and the ARHM..
i understand Lord Cardigan took independent legal advice before The Charge Of The Light Brigade!
All in the valley of death rode the 600.
Well well well. Once again our trusty friend feels he has to defend the honour of his clients, but at their cost and their risk. As I have said in previous posts his circular letters are designed to worry leaseholders and I feel he is motivated by money and not any altruistic reasons. By bringing a court case he is actually drawing attention to this mater and putting it further into the public domain.
Dudley Joiner is only interested in one thing. Himself and garnering money for the RTMF, which is built on very shaky financial foundations. His RTM claims seem to be drying up (from which he claims a huge fee from managing agents, favouring those who will pay the most) and so he needs another source of income. The Leaseholder Federation has bombed and so the Triplerose decision plays neatly into his grubby hands.
Avoid this man like the plague!
Insider. Well said. I tried to say similar things to you even before Dudley responded ,as I had no doubt ,and anticipated Dudley will write back in his usual style. The editor did not like what I said or how I said it although it was in similar lines to what you wrote. It’s time people see Dudley for what he really is.