Last month leaseholders of Waltham Forest Housing received letters about a First Tier Tribunal case. A lot of questions have been asked since about what the letter means, what the case means, whether leaseholders should get involved and what the implications are for them. We asked Stuart Merrison of Bishop & Sewell to give us an overview.
In November 2016 nine leaseholders challenged their service charges on the grounds that Ascham Homes (who then managed the council’s properties) had not followed the rules on consultation. The Tribunal agreed that these were not strictly followed and that the council couldn’t levy the charges unless it applied for a dispensation, or exemption from the rule.
There is a precedent set for dispensations and the council would be likely to succeed unless the leaseholders can prove that they would have paid less if they had been properly consulted. And that’s a big if because so far no-one seems to have compelling evidence of this. The letter asked leaseholders if they wanted to join with those nine in challenging the dispensation.