Property managers who fail to fairly consult residential tenants before embarking on major renovation projects can be blocked from recovering the cost of such works through service charges.
Property managers who fail to fairly consult residential tenants before embarking on major renovation projects can be blocked from recovering the cost of such works through service charges and can end up carrying the financial can themselves.
A company which managed a block of 30 long leasehold flats wished to carry out extensive roofing works and spread the cost amongst the tenants. However, when five of the tenants challenged their bills, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that the consultation requirements contained within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 had not been complied with. As a result, the tenants’ contributions were capped at £250 each, a fraction of the actual cost of the works.
The FTT noted that tenants had been told that they could only view estimates for the work on giving 48 hours' notice and that they would be open to inspection only between 9am and 12pm on weekdays. The address given for inspection was also confusing and difficult to find.
In dismissing the company’s appeal, the Upper Tribunal found, amongst other things, that reasonable arrangements had not been made for the convenience of tenants who worked full time. The statutory consultation requirements were mandatory and the company’s plea that it had ‘substantially complied’ with them was not enough to cure the breaches.
Contact: Andrew Raby