RTMF’s Triplerose recommendation is vindicated

St Pauls Court, Tunbridge Wells.

In the controversial case of Triplerose Ltd v 90 Broomfield Road RTM Company Limited [2015] the Court of appeal determined that an RTM company can only manage one premises or building. This reversed the decisions consistently given by tribunal´s since RTM was introduced and called into question the legal status of pre-existing RTM companies managing multiple blocks.

In what we believe to be the first judgement to address head-on the temporal effect of Triplerose, the first-tier tribunal hearing the case of St Pauls Court has confirmed that Triplerose does apply retrospectively.

In October 2015 the RTMF published its advice to RTM Companies caught in this dilemma. Based on the House of Lords´ judgement in National Westminster Bank plc. v Spectrum Plus Ltd [2005] the RTMF advised that the decision in Triplerose automatically applies to RTM Companies retrospectively. In view of the serious consequences to RTM directors if found acting ultra vires the RTMF advice was to not ignore the decision but take remedial action.

RTMF´s Triplerose recommendation was much criticised at the time but the fully reasoned decision in St Pauls Court fully justifies this advice. In coming to his decision Judge Letman cited the Spectrum case. He said: –

“These features of the English judicial system are touched upon in Spectrum (at paragraphs 4 to 11), where in the light of the same it seems to me Lord Nicholls makes in abundantly clear that as a matter of principle and of its very nature ‘a court ruling which changes the law from what it was previously thought to be operates retrospectively as well as prospectively’ (as explained at paragraph 7 therein).”

Judge Letman confirmed that the only exception to this rule is if the issue has already been determined by a court or tribunal, in which case the principle of res judicata would apply and the RTM company concerned would legally be able to manage more than one premises. Other RTM companies that are managing more than one block or building are doing so without legal authority and RTM directors so effected are advised to take immediate legal advice.


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