Right to Manage – does an error in the claim form make it invalid?

Right to Manage is a popular but highly procedural route for leaseholders wanting to take control of their block.

There are lots of opportunities for error, whether it’s in the wording or missing a deadline – many of which can spell disaster for the RTM claim.

However, an error (or two) in the claim process does not always mean defeat, as highlighted in the case of 18 Langdale Road v Assethold Limited.

In this quick-read blog, Brady Solicitors explain what was wrong with the RTM claim form – and the upshot for both the applicants and the freeholder.

18 Langdale Road v Assethold Limited

The case concerns a small development of two flats, where the individual leaseholders were both members of the appellant RTM company.

The RTM company applied for the right to manage in May 2020 and served a notice of claim on the freeholder in accordance with their rights under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

The freeholder challenged the application with a counternotice that set out two issues:

  • The form was not signed,
  • There was some prescribed wording missing.

There was no requirement for the form to be signed, so the FTT dismissed this point.

However, the FTT found that the missing wording made the RTM claim form invalid and referenced the Triplerose case, which highlighted the need for precision when claiming the right to manage.

The RTM company appealed – and the decision was overturned

The Upper Tribunal overturned the decision made by the FTT, explaining that the missing wording was ‘not of critical importance’ and that the freeholder would not suffer any prejudice by its omission.

What can we take from this case?

The RTM company survived a hiccup in the claim form, as the error was not deemed to be of primary importance. However, as solicitors that work regularly on RTM matters, we are acutely aware of the Tribunal’s ability to knock out claims that don’t fully comply with the statutory obligations.

We would encourage both freeholders and RTM companies to follow the prescribed procedures and to include all necessary wording.

For expert advice on any aspect of Right to Manage, please do get in touch.

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