A proposal has been put forward by the Law Commission that would improve a leaseholder’s ability to manage their buildings on a daily basis.
As it stands, those renting flats can currently claim the responsibilities of any repairs, maintenance, services, and insurance in lieu of their landlords taking care of any these issues – this is called the right to manage (RTM).
The Law Commission is opposed to the current RTM system, stating that leaseholders have encountered a plethora of problems with the system that have stopped them taking control of their own buildings. The current system was said to be too:
- Technical – The process can be delayed and even prevented completely due to minuscule errors in procedural requirements.
- Slow – Delays are commonplace in the current system, RTM companies must receive all the information they require – such as insurance history – which can take longer than expected.
- Restrictive – Leaseholders cannot currently claim RTM on anything but individual flats. Meaning that if they own houses, multiple buildings on an estate, or buildings with more than 25 per cent commercial space they are unable to apply.
- Expensive – Leaseholders must pay landlord fees.
- Uncertain – It is not rare that RTM companies do not fully grasp how many responsibilities there are for each property. For example, they would be responsible for shared car parks and gardens.
It is intended by the Law Commission to tackle each of these issues individually. As an example, they have proposed that the processes be sped up by imposing deadlines at each stage.
Stephen Lewis, Commercial and Common Law Commissioner, has said: “The right to manage process is not working at the moment and change is needed. This is a very practical project and we’ve been focused on developing proposals that make sure the right to manage is more user-friendly, particularly for leaseholders.”