Two legal rulings will help thousands of flat owners caught up in service charge disputes with their landlords.
Two judges have now confirmed that service charge disputes between flat owners and their freehold landlords should be heard by a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal’s (LVT’s) not by county courts, in landmark judgements that should help thousands.
The second case involved Michael Morrison, who owns one of 133 flats in Oslo Court, Prince Albert Road, Regent’s Park London NW8. The freehold is owned by City and Country Properties, part of the Freshwater Group, one of the biggest landlords in London.
Morrison refused to pay a service charge demand for more than £6200 claiming that the cost of the works was unreasonable, and resulted from the landlords’ neglect of the property over many years.
Morrison, who runs the Solicitors Information Service, represented himself in court against Freshwater’s barrister, who opposed the case being transferred to the Tribunal. But Judge Lawrence had no hesitation in ordering that the case be heard by the LVT and awarding costs against Freshwater.
Solicitors are hoping that these judgements will begin to stop landlords using threats of expensive court action
Evening Standard (March 1998)
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