The Right To Manage, or RTM, allows some leasehold property owners to take over management of the building – even without an existing agreement with the Landlord. It essentially puts the power in the hands of the leaseholders, should the landlord fail to fulfil their responsibilities to a satisfactory standard, but in fact, qualifying leaseholders can execute their right to manage for any reason – it doesn't have to be that the building is poorly managed.
The landlord will be sent a notice by the leaseholders if they plan to do this. Should it be successful, the leaseholders will assume responsibility for the following:
- Collecting/Managing service charges
- Upkeep of the building structure
- Upkeep of communal areas
- Handling complaints from tenants, residents etc.
'Notice of Claim'
Normally the leaseholders will contact you after they've set up the RTM company, and will issue you with a 'notice of claim' which basically informs you of their intents to take over management of the building. Other details it will stipulate include the date they intend to take over the management, and a date of which you must respond by. You may decide to accept the notice, especially as your entitled to be a member of the management board, but you also have the option dispute the claim if you wish.
Disputing a claim
To put the dispute into action, you'll need to serve a counter-notice to the Right To Manage company. In it you'll stipulate the reasons why you believe the RTM isn't entitled to manage the building. Their application may be voided for a number of reasons:
- The RTM members don't represent enough of the flats in the building
- The RTM company doesn't comply with legal requirements
- The building doesn't qualify under the right to management
For the leaseholders RTM application to be approved, a number of criteria need to be filled:
- The building must be flats (houses are exempt)
- Two thirds or more of the flats in the building have to be leasehold – with only leases greater than 21 years qualifying
- 75% or more of the building must be residential. Therefore, if a part of the building id a shop or other service, it can't account for more than 25% of the total floor area
- 50% or more of the flats in the building have to be members of the RTM
- The RTM has to be properly registered as a limited company with Companies House
If any of the above stipulations are applicable in your situation, you should serve a counter-notice to the RTM, informing them why you believe their claim is void.
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
If the RTM decide to challenge your reasons, they will have to apply for the case to be judged by a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT), within two months of the date of the counter-notice. The LVT will then decide on who will resume management of the building.