From securing the necessary leaseholder support for the Right to Manage (RTM), through to setting up the company, educating directors on their responsibilities and helping you to pick up the pieces from leaseholder disputes with the previous managing agent, Brady Solicitors can guide you through a successful Right to Manage process step by step.
If you have identified RTM as a potential option for your block and you have confirmed it meets the necessary qualifying criteria, then you are ready to get started with the Right to Manage process.
Right to Manage is a statutory right that follows a prescribed process. This has many advantages as if you get it right, there is nothing that can prevent you from successfully securing the Right to Manage. As with many legal processes however, it does need precision to ensure that the steps are followed correctly and the freeholder is given no opportunity to challenge your RTM application.
Step 1 in the Right to Manage process: secure leaseholder support and set up the RTM company
To begin the work involved in applying for the Right to Manage, you first need the support of at least 50 percent of the leaseholders. Ideally you will have also identified leaseholders who are willing to be directors of the new RTM company.
Once you know you have sufficient support from your fellow leaseholders, you can set up and register the RTM company.
Step 2 in the Right to Manage process: issue a Notice Inviting Participation
The RTM company must then issue a Notice Inviting Participation to the qualifying leaseholders, setting out the intention to acquire the right to manage, the names of the members of the RTM company, plus other legally required information. You must enrol as members of the RTM company all leaseholders who respond and ask for membership.
Getting the Notice Inviting Participation right is a key part of the Right to Manage process and using specialist Right to Manage solicitors (such as the team at Bradys!) is generally recommended.
Step 3 in the Right to Manage process: serve the Notice of Claim on the freeholder
The next step is to send the Notice of Claim to your freeholder. The Notice has prescribed wording and care must be taken to ensure it is completed perfectly to avoid risking a potentially costly defence from your freeholder.
When serving the Notice of Claim, you must give the freeholder at least one month plus ‘service time’ to issue any Counter Notice. Brady Solicitors recommend allowing a minimum of 35 days for this part of the Right to Manage process.
In the Notice of Claim, you must set out your intended date for the acquisition of the Right to Manage. This must be a minimum of three months after receipt of the Counter Notice – so at least four months in total from the service of the Claim.
At Brady Solicitors we can help you to decide the best date for acquiring the Right to Manage, as sometimes it is worth extending it to give the new RTM company time to appoint a replacement managing agent and secure a smooth handover.
What happens to the Right to Manage process when the freeholder issues a Counter Notice?
The freeholder must respond with any Counter Notice no later than the date set out in your Notice of Claim. In the Counter Notice, the freeholder can agree to the RTM claim or set out why the RTM company is not entitled to proceed.
If the freeholder agrees to your RTC claim, then the management of your block will pass to the RTM company on the date set out in your Notice of Claim. This is also the case if there is no Counter Notice served by the freeholder.
If the freeholder disputes your RTM claim in their Counter Notice, you can apply to the FTT for a determination of the issue. This must be made within two months of the date of the Counter Notice, or your RTM claim is considered to be withdrawn.
It is important to bear in mind that the freeholder can only dispute the claim on three areas:
- The building does not qualify
- The members of the RTM company do not qualify
- The RTM company does not comply with the legislative requirements
Hopefully you have taken solid legal advice and ensured that your application cannot be challenged on any of these three grounds.
The acquisition of the Right to Manage can take a few months and there are plenty of opportunities for error if procedures are not followed correctly throughout.