In a recent application to the First Tier Tribunal for the appointment of a manager for a local block of flats we had the manager successfully appointed. The Freeholder, who has failed to contribute to the maintenance and management of the building for many years, decided not to represent himself in the Tribunal proceedings. A previous manager was appointed by the First Tier Tribunal in 2014, she decided to retire before her term could be renewed; her term was completely frustrated by the Freeholder’s inaction.
We submitted very persuasive witness statements from the head tenant on the state of disrepair of the building and also from our Martina McKay on a history of the matter to the present day. At the Tribunal hearing the Tenants were represented by Counsel who put forward a very persuasive argument to emphasise the need to clarify the extent of the manager’s liabilities upon appointment and the importance for the order to permit the manager to manage and collect the rent from Freeholders tenancies on his flats. Although this would be an unusual ruling for the First Tier Tribunal, precedence in the cases of Maunder Taylor and Queensbridge Investments Ltd v Lodge was cited in support.
It was presented to the Tribunal that the reasons this order was sought were:
- There was a need to ensure that the manager would be free to perform his functions and collect funds by way of rent to progress the repairs required to the building quickly.
- The circumstances of this case bore a close resemblance to the Queensbridge Investments case; this was an exceptional case that necessitated imposition of extensive terms that took management functions away from Freeholder.
- Such an order was not the draconian measure it might appear and would, in fact, be in all parties’ interest. The alternative would be to pursue the Freeholder in the county court for his contribution, which would incur considerable delay and upfront legal costs to the Applicants for which the Freeholder would ultimately be liable.
- The case of Maunder Taylor highlighted the broad scope of the power under s 24 and the need for the scheme to ensure that an appointed manager is able to collect the funds necessary to carry out the necessary works.
- The Freeholder’s witness statement from the previous proceedings in 2014 shows that he himself envisaged, expected, even wanted the rental income from his flats to be used to finance his contribution.
At conclusion of the hearing the Tribunal was content to grant the powers sought to enable the Manager to manage the tenancies. The Chairman stated that whilst the order was unusual the Tribunal was persuaded by the arguments advanced, particularly the emphasis on the order being in the interest of all parties and the consideration that without the order, no works were likely to get going anytime soon.
A very successful outcome for our clients.