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Types of purchase

Leasehold complaints

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Though landlords and managing agents still have some power over leaseholders, recent government initiatives have been aimed at redressing the balance of power to some degree and slowly reforming a system that has at times been abused.

The 1996 housing act gives leaseholders the right to take their landlords to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal if they are unhappy with the level of service they are getting for the cost of the service charges. The cost of taking a landlord or freeholder to an LVT (whose decision is legally binding) will not be more than £500 no matter how many leaseholders are involved.

As a result, you can no longer be served notice for refusing to pay high maintenance costs unless these have been ruled as fair by the LVT. You can even request that the LVT orders a new managing agent for the building if they are found to be incompetent or acting unscrupulously. Obviously they will hear both sides of the argument, so there is no guarantee that any ruling will be in your favour. The main difference to going through the courts is the fact that whatever the outcome, neither side will be required to pay for the other sides legal costs.

Your local authority should be able to provide you with details of how to contact the appropriate LVT.

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