All change for right to manage
Right to manage is under the spotlight. The Law Commission wants to make it quicker and easier for leaseholders to take control of the day-to-day management of their block.
If you own a flat, you can already take on the right to manage or RTM, which gives you and your neighbours rather than your landlord, responsibility for managing your building.
This includes dealing with utilities, repairs, maintenance and insurance. It is what is known as a ?no-fault? right, so leaseholders can exercise it without having to prove any mismanagement by their landlord.
As it stands, many people think the right to manage journey is too technical, too slow, too uncertain and too expensive.
- leaseholders have to pay most of the landlord?s costs.
- Any errors in completing the paperwork can cause long delays and even prevent leaseholders acquiring the right to manage altogether.
- Right to manage doesn?t apply to owners of leasehold houses (as opposed to flats), to those who want the RTM over multiple buildings on an estate, or to anyone whose buildings have more than 25% commercial or other non-residential space.
- RTM companies often don?t know the extent of the management functions they have become responsible for, particularly when it comes to shared property like gardens and car parks.
In response the Law Commission is running a consultation to make the process more transparent and straightforward. Proposed changes include:
- Extending the qualifying criteria so that leasehold houses, not just flats, qualify for the right to manage.
- Permitting multi-block RTM on estates, and removing the 25% commercial space restriction.
- Reducing the number of notices that leaseholders must serve as part of the claim process.
- Introducing deadlines for procedures and exchanges of information between the landlord and RTM company, so that the process doesn?t stall.
- Exploring options for a more balanced costs regime.
- Giving the tribunal exclusive jurisdiction over RTM disputes so it can resolve disputes quickly, and waive minor procedural mistakes made in the process of claiming the RTM.
At Ringley we have many years of experience advising leaseholders on right to manage.
We agree that the system is over-complicated and we look forward to seeing what comes out of the consultation. Anything that makes the process more user-friendly for leaseholders has to be a good thing.
But any changes to the existing system may take some time, so if you are already committed to the RTM route or are thinking of doing so in the near future and would like some help, take a look at the Ringley website where we have lots of useful information. We have RTM specialists ready to take your call and we are also about to produce an E-book helping leaseholders through the process that will be ready to download in the next few weeks.
Finally, if you would like to share your RTM journey and take part in the consultation, you can find the online response form here.
The right to manage consultation will be open until 30 April 2019.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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