Leasehold Valuation Tribunal — LVT — Lease Hold Valuation Tribunal UK

Marcus Shields: Here we can see the sort of
work that needs doing. It really isn’t going to possibly cost a hundred grand. It’s just
no way. The house next door had theirs done for a tenth of the cost. So why can’t we? We went to Leasehold Valuation Tribunal because
we had a problem getting one of the leaseholders to pay their share for £12,000 refurbishing
job that we were wanted to have done on the building and the exterior and interior. Charles Metherell: If you’re managing a property
for people who own a freehold of the building and you have disputes amongst the shareholders,
you can approach the LVT and get them to give a determination as to how things should be
sorted out. Marcus Shields: Since going to the LVT, they’ve
appointed a managing agent who probably isn’t suitable for the building. In fact black and
white is not suitable at all and they’ve drawn up a specification for the same works but
somehow the quotes are coming at over a hundred thousand pounds, which defies belief. Charles Metherell: I had to go to the LVT
for one reason or another on numerous occasions. I don’t think if I remember correctly that
I’ve ever really had a sensible decision from them. Sebastian O’ Kelly: Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
is supposed to be a low cost, informal tribunal where leaseholders can have their grievances
aired and redressed. In fact, it’s a very nasty court, as bad any other court and the
cost are more or less unlimited although they’re supposed to be limited to £500. Charles Metherell: If you’ve got something
to put to them, they will want to have what they call a pre-hearing hearing or a pre-trial
hearing. In my view, that’s where most disputes or problems which are really fairly simple
should be resolved immediately. Very often, they’re not. Sebastian O’ Kelly: The LVT is there to protect
leaseholders and to redress their grievances but unfortunately, lawyers have got in on
the act and there are specialist lawyers who should be able to splatter a leaseholder around
the court and win a case. This happened with Dennis Jackson. Dennis Jackson: Over a period from 2009, we
were charged on three years running for the same piece of work, replacements of the communal
carpet, replacements of the answer phone system at a cost of in excess of £13,000 for each
item. Every year, we got billed for the same item. Nothing was ever done. Sebastian O’ Kelly: With a neighbor, he (Dennis)
decided to refuse to pay the services charges and he allowed himself to be taken to the
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. Dennis Jackson: The managing agent started
a case at the LVT for Rosemary and I to recoup the money. It went on for a period of three
years and then during that period of time, the managing agents ran up legal fees of a
£132,000, which seemed to be quite excessive because Rosemary’s service charge was reduced
from £6,000 to £3,000 and mine was reduced from £9,000 to £7,000. Basically, they were
after us for £10,000 and they’d run up £132,000. Sebastian O’ Kelly: The Ministry of Justice
website and the Leaseholder Advisory Service has this very misleading information that
legal cost are capped at £500 at least at the Valuation Tribunal. It is only capped
at £500 in certain circumstances. Otherwise, they can be unlimited. Dennis Jackson: The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal,
in all the pamphlets and promotions say we are a no-cost forum. Each party has to pay
their own cost so we thought, that’s fair enough. We don’t need to represent ourselves
because it can be a fairly sort of civilized forum. We turned up there to find that the
other party had a barrister, a solicitor, an accountant, the managing agent from Tideway
and a clock. On the desk were, they already had six lever arch files. It looked like the
whole place was covered in snow. It’s unbelievable. We were totally overwhelmed by the whole thing. Sebastian O’ Kelly: The barristers will arrive
with numerous skeleton arguments. Often, they’ll present arguments on the day of the hearing
which is a standard legal dodge to obfuscate and confuse lay applicants and he was totally
overwhelmed by it. Dennis Jackson: The management from Tideway
is a guy called Peter John. He had the audacity to charge his legal cost of £250 an hour
to be at the LVT to explain how service charges came about which seemed ludicrous. Charles Metherell: I think you do have an
awful lot of vested interest both by managing agents, by lawyers, and so on. That’s their
business, if you like. They make their money out of that. Sebastian O’ Kelly: It is supposed to be there
to protect you but leaseholders have very little chance against experienced leasehold
barristers who know every inch of this law and legislation. Dennis Jackson had his £800,000 flat forfeited
at Wandsworth County Court. This occurred as a result of a leasehold dispute of £7,500
in services charges which he wasn’t prepared to pay. Dennis Jackson: When it got to the point where
a forfeiture note is put in my property, that was like I was going to be thrown out in the
street with no money, no property, nothing at all, no assets, a 73-year-old pensioner. Sebastian O’ Kelly: Leaseholders are being
let down by the law. Parliaments set up the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to help leaseholders.
It has been worked around by freeholders and their lawyers. It is disgraceful that this
has happened. It is not illegal, but it is not right. Dennis Jackson: In fact, towards the end,
my neighbour, Rosemary actually died and we believe a lot of the stress was part of why
she died. Charles Metherell: The LVT itself should be
clearer, simpler, where people come to discuss and look for a sensible compromise solution
to the problems which all buildings have. They’ve all got structural problems. They’ve
all got internal problems. They all need to have carpets renewed every so often, repainting,
and repairs and so on and so forth. It’s not rocket science. Sebastian O’ Kelly: We must return Leasehold
Valuation Tribunals into what they should have been at the start, as parliament intended
which is low-cost, simple, redress procedures for leaseholders.

23 Responses

  1. Trevor Gardiner says:

    Excellent documentary which highlights the problems many people appear to be having with the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). Would be good to see some interviews with people on the other side of this argument. How do they justify the problems that are facing often elderly leaseholders who are outflanked by expensive barristers working for managing agents. Many people would say that this is not how a fair legal system is meant to operate.

  2. bria larker says:

    Having been on the receiving end. I completely understand. Fab documentary and would like to get in touch

  3. Rénuka says:

    Hi Bria thanks we would love to speak. website
    NotFitForPurpose at .com is going up- team working on it now. Please contact me via that in a few days or send me an email through here?

  4. Leasehold Valuation Tribunal says:

    Hi Renuka, FYI when you're logged into youtube you can hit the reply button and then Bria will be notified about your message.

  5. Paul Roper says:

    There has been many reports on sociopaths— the findings were that they choose careers where there is little regulation ie banking, and I believe leasehold, the way many leaseholders are treated is totally without any conscience

  6. charliebrown7861 says:

    like and favourited.

  7. Simon Mac says:

    OK !! what a joke. The old pompous man on the stairs pointing at the wall , his comment is so stupid.

  8. Rénuka says:

    @Simon Mac & Francesco Moroni – Those affected by what's going on at LVT, bad managing agents & negligent freeholders don't agree. see [email protected]/video-exposes-leasehold-horrors
    Fact: Outside needs painting not rebuilding. Has new roofs, complete new drainage system, pathways rebuilt, exterior rebuilt and repainted, interior decorated and re-carpeted, at cost of thousands never contributed to by one negligent freeholder.

  9. Rénuka says:

    @ 67sexonlegs Local experienced managing agent & Britain's Top Ten (2) Most trusted builder COST INSIDE & EXTERIOR £13K. (Had full Architect's specification, completed Section 20). Next door larger builder inside and out COST £9K. LVT appointed managing agents supported by LVT & two out three freeholders Cost job at £120K & demand £60k( phase 1) paid upfront on the day at LVT with no documentation. no completed Section 20 procedure + defective Notices. Payment in 2 weeks. Nuff said.

  10. Adam Honey says:

    Having been a building manager and knowing the property well, it is clear that Leaseholders are not being treated fairly. It does appear that there is something corrupt going on both with managing agents (and in general in my experience) and the LVT. If this documentary sheds just a little light on this, good, whether its a good or bad documentary being irrelevant. Good luck NFF Purpose team!

  11. Rénuka says:

    For background to this and lots of info on LVT – go to Sebastian O'Kelly website at leasehold knowledge partnership.

  12. eidoxis says:

    The documentary says it all. Disgrace is the word. The system is an invitation to the greedy and the bully to extort money. Parliament legislated for this and did not think it through, it needs parliament to fix it.

    Contact your MP. He/she is not doing a good enough job. Unless your MP is confronted by the injustice itself, whenever we (any of us) see it occur, there is no incentive for him/her to conduct themselves differently. Expect the same slovenly legislation in all walks of your life.

  13. Rénuka says:

    Flower power is not always enough : ) A resource is LeaseholdlKnowledgePartnership. Google them and good luck if you are having issues.

  14. Rénuka says:

    Great MP Sir Peter Bottomley sees criminal charges being levied and Office of Fair Trading set to investigate LVT and issues around fraud & service charges

  15. Girl Friday Berks says:

    Great work Renuka .

  16. Rénuka says:

    Latest update more M.P's are looking at this issue. We encourage you to write in to your local M.P's and the office of fair Trading investigation NOW. [email protected]

    why its important  to write in :trading

    Report by Wendy Wilson 2014 "The regulation of private sector letting and 
    managing agents (England) Widespread bad practice: we found evidence of agents using aggressive sales tactics, poor customer service, missing appointments and misleading…

  17. metratone5 says:

    I found this interesting to watch as currently going through the same issues and I'd also like to thank Renuka Reins I will def take your advice. Wish me luck.

  18. Landlords and Letting says:

    The whole concept of Leasehold is a bloody giant fraud, originally dreamt up by the parasitical Great British Landed Gentry. The 1993 Act did go some way towards redressing the imbalance between freeholders and leaseholders but not far enough, due to the fucking vested interests of the landed gentry who opposed it every inch of the way. I've written more here: 

  19. Vic Fogua says:

    In 2009 a joint expert surveyor appointed via the LVT to inspect our building reported a long list of damages to the building due to the long standing disrepair stating that in some parts the building was ‘extensively damaged and in poor condition’, with the property in ‘very poor conditions of repair’. The joint expert surveyor reported that in his opinion, the roof had been in that overall condition for at least some ‘ten to twenty years’.

    We had 6 more independent surveys from 6 different surveyor and engineer firms all pointing out to a long historic neglect of the estate. After 4 years of dragging the repairs in 2012 we presented our case at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal lasted one day. 

    Incredibly, After 7 years of living under a old defective roof causing massive leaks and water ingress into several properties at 36 and 34 Coombe Road Croydon the LVT determined that the leaseholders ended up paying 95% of the repairs bills plus 50% of the legal costs of the freeholder for having written 'too much correspondence' asking for urgent repairs! The legal costs demanded by the freeholder for the LVT proceeding were £106,000.00 

    At the end each leaseholder had to pay a bill of almost £20,000.00 after years of flooding in their homes. Some homes kept on having flooding from defective pipes up until now. I lived in flat 2 at 36 Coombe Road for almost 10 years of flooding from old defective roof and pipes until 2015. 

    We have now just found out that our estate at 34-36 Coombe Rd, Croydon, CR0 1BP was converted from 2 houses into 9 conversion flats with 2 conversions at 36 Coombe Rd with no record in the local authority planning department &
    Only 5 completion certificates for 9 conversions flats – The local authority does not know which conversions are those with completion certificates after several major alterations of the building.


    Read more here if you are interested:

    Updates will follow

  20. morgantarney says:

    Had the misfortune of going through the process of LVT in regards to service charge.  Totally biased in favour of the managing agent. The Lvt is another tier of authority for the elite to fill their pockets at the expense of the leaseholder and taxpayer. Our chairman was paid £405 a day. She finished the Hearing early on the second day and was out in our local Town shopping. The Agent was also awarded £6000 costs, which included, hotel stays, food, legal costs, travel etc, for a claim of £2000. We were also not allowed to to bring issues of harassment by the agent, because it was not in their jurisdiction. You have no chance of getting a fair hearing because, as a leaseholder you are deemed, a second class citizen. This is a case of the "old boys network" alive and kicking protecting their mates. The LVT are also unaccountable for their actions as they are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. 

  21. James Noble says:

    The LVT cannot award more than £500 in costs. The next tier of tribunal which came into force a month after this video was uploaded can award unlimited costs. What has happened here is that there is a clause in the lease which allows the freeholder to charge the tenant for any costs involved in any litigation. The LVT doesn't really have the power to invalidate such a clause, they can prevent the landlord from adding such costs to the service charge (which hopefully you asked them to do).

    However any such charges must be reasonable you can go into dispute about those charges and cannot be evicted until a court has agreed that you're wrong. Offer something similar to what your costs were as your starting point for negotiations and conduct negotiations with them in a fair and open way. If they won't agree and you can't agree an arbiter then take them to the LVT to get the costs reduced, they will have a tough time proving that it was reasonable to spend 100,000 of your money in order to lose a legal case against you when you spent a few hundred pounds to win the case. This is almost the definition of an inequitable situation, you were in a situation where you pay whatever they demand or they'll spend a fortune of your money.

    In this situation (as it is presented here, and I guess there is more going on which would muddy the waters but I can't comment on that) the equitable outcome would be for the freeholder to be selling their property to pay for their outrageous abuse of process.

  22. Phil Patterson says:

    The LVT is now called the FTT "First Tier Tribunal (Property).
    They are worse than Mafia. Don't buy Leasehold!

  23. Ian Morris says:

    Management company for the council increased my service charge 200% from £60 to £200 so I sent a copy of the lease and letters to the Leaseholders Advisory Service who wrote to me telling me they cannot do this (judge 1) and to go to property Tribunal . More paperwork 3 copies of the Lease and correspondence and a date was set. However I was put on hold as another leaseholder presented the same case before me. This chap won at his Tribunal ( judges 2,[email protected]) then I was given a date for my Tribunal and won as well (judges 5,[email protected]) that’s right seven judges in favour of the leaseholder. The council appealed to the 2nd tier Tribunal and one judge turned up , he didn’t agree or disagree just produced a calculator and raised the £60 set by the Tribunal to £150. I appealed to the Royal Courts of justice in London and attended with a barrister and Solicitor at a cost to me of £3,500. They said Tribunal evidence in my favour was overwhelming plus it was ambiguous and I will win my case. On the day three Hoorah Henry plummy well offs dismissed my case in favour of the council against all the previous evidence of seven judges. Had I won Councils all over England would have had to repay millions back to leaseholders as they were all doing the same thing. No justice for this pleb. [email protected]

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