On 28 January 2013, the RTMF issued a Claim Notice on behalf of a majority of leaseholders to acquire the Right to Manage 8 to 11 Cleveland Square, London, a residential block of 25 apartments. Whilst 8 to 11 Cleveland Square forms part of a series of terraced buildings, the original building was destroyed by a bomb during World War II, with a new brick building being constructed.
By a counter-notice dated 4 March 2013 DMH Stallard, on behalf of the Landlord served a counter-notice denying the Right to Manage on the basis that the building was not a self-contained building, in so far that the premises share a heating system with 1-3 Cleveland Gardens, a building further down the terrace, and therefore not capable of being redeveloped independently.
On receipt of the counter-notice, the RTMF made an application to the Tribunal of behalf of the RTM company, as in the RTMF´s opinion history clearly demonstrates that the building is self-contained and capable of being redeveloped independently.
During the hearing, at which the RTM company were represented by Dudley Joiner from the RTMF, and the Landlord by Mr Sissons, the Tribunal found that…
“It was not necessary in the present case to reach any conclusions as to what test in relation to independent redevelopment had to be applied and what evidence, if any, the Applicant had to adduce in this regard. The mere fact that the property had been demolished and rebuilt as a consequence of war damage was sufficient to prove that independent redevelopment was entirely achievable. Accordingly, the Tribunal concluded that section 72(3)(b) of the Act was satisfied”.
It was submitted by Mr Sissons that, as the heating system was not provided separately from other parts of the terrace, it was for the RTM company to prove that it could be done by carrying out works likely to result in a significant interruption of heating services to the rest of the building, as required by the Act. The Tribunal rejected the submissions made by Mr Sissons largely for reasons advanced by the RTMF, as under the terms of the residential leases of both premises, the Landlord is only contractually obliged to provide heating between October and April in each year, giving a period of some months to install and commission separate heating systems. Furthermore, in paragraph 6.19 of the Respondent´s Heating Engineer´s report, it confirms that “new boilers can, therefore, be installed whilst the existing oil fired boilers remained in operation”.
To the delight of RTM company members the Tribunal concluded that the requirements of the Act had been satisfied, and therefore determined that the RTM company shall acquire the Right to Manage.
“Thank you to the whole RTMF team for your support, which has enabled us to get this favourable determination”.
Chris Bolton, RTM company director.