Timely advice helps leaseholder secure success at the First-tier Tribunal

When an elderly leaseholder needed 11th hour advice on a long-running service charge challenge, Sam Andrews stepped in to help convert his efforts into a successful outcome.

The leaseholder, who had previously represented himself, had been in dispute for several years over the need to contribute towards a communal Day Room on the development. The lease for the retirement home development made provision for care facilities, without directly specifying the Day Room as part of these facilities.

The case had been rumbling on for over seven years and had twice been before the First-tier Tribunal, with conflicting outcomes.

 With a third hearing just a fortnight away, the leaseholder asked Brady Solicitors for advice.

Sam worked with the elderly leaseholder to construct the arguments and help prepare for the hearing, as he explains:

“This was a complex case and one that had already been in front of the FTT and with mixed results. It was important to the leaseholder that this third hearing be a success.

“The landlord was arguing that providing the Day Room facility cost him £13,000 per annum in lost rent, and had applied some fairly strong tactics over the years to recover this cost through the service charge.

“Our client had a good understanding of leasehold law but needed the addition of some specialist knowledge and strong counter arguments to help secure success. We drafted a statement of case, briefed Counsel and helped the leaseholder to prepare for the hearing.

“Following our preparations, the Tribunal agreed with us in full and disallowed the charge over three years – saving the leaseholder a significant sum of service charge. 20 other leaseholders joined in with the application and all benefited from the Tribunal’s decision.

“The client was over the moon with this fantastic result and we were very pleased to be able to help.”

* ‘Unbundling’ – a legal footnote

This case is an example of ‘unbundling’ of legal services, where a client can turn to its legal advisers for specialist help at a particular stage of the litigation process and can be a cost-effective option. For the best chance of success we would always recommend speaking to solicitors as early as possible to ensure that the best defence can be prepared.

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