A Leasehold Dispute Hearing and Decision
What happens at the full hearing of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
The full hearing is when the issues are heard and decided. In Panels outside London, arrangements will be made for the hearing to take place at a local venue. In London hearings are usually held at the Panel office. The proceedings are orderly but informal. Each party is given an adequate opportunity to explain their case. Usually, the applicant will present his/ her case first and the respondent will follow afterwards.
The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal will include a Chairman and one or two other members. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal will be careful to make sure that both parties have a fair hearing and put the points they want to make. The LVT is not there, however, to make either party’s case for them.
Will I be allowed to ask questions at the hearing?
Yes. Either party will be able to ask the other about their case if present. The LVT members may also ask questions. For example, a tenant must expect to be asked to explain why an element of the service charge is unreasonable. Similarly, a landlord may be asked to say why an element of the service charge is reasonable or explain why an action taken in managing a property was one that a manager ought properly to have taken.
What happens when the Tribunal carries out an inspection?
The LVT may want to inspect the property to familiarise itself with it. Usually, the inspection is held on the morning of the hearing. In some cases the LVT will arrange for an inspection during or at the end of the hearing. The parties are entitled to attend the inspection and to draw the attention of the LVT to any physical aspect of the property that they wish them to see, but not to make any representations; those must be kept for the hearing. Usually the LVT will need to inspect the exterior of the property and the common parts.
When will I know the LVT s decision?
Occasionally an LVT will let the parties know the decision at the end of the hearing. Usually however the LVT will issue a document containing its decision and the reasons for it after the hearing and usually within six weeks. In cases where the application has been referred to the LVT from the County Court, then a copy of the decision will also be sent to the County Court.
Can the LVT order one party to pay the other party’s costs?
No. Each party has to pay its own costs. Some leases allow a landlord to recover legal costs as part of the service charge. The LVT has the power to make an order preventing a landlord from taking this step. When filling in an application form, tenants are asked if they want the LVT to consider making such an order. In addition any applicant, whether a landlord or tenant, can ask the LVT to order the other party to reimburse the whole or part of any fees that have been paid to the LVT.
If I am unhappy with the LVT’s decision, how do I appeal?
Any party can appeal an LVT decision to the Lands Tribunal. Permission to appeal must be given by either the LVT concerned or the Lands Tribunal. Any application for permission ( leave) to appeal must be made to the LVT within 21 days of the date the decision was issued to the parties, although the LVT has power to extend that time in exceptional cases. The Lands Tribunal will not accept any application for leave to appeal unless leave has first been refused by the LVT. Following a refusal of leave by the LVT, parties have 28 days to seek leave from the Lands Tribunal. The LVT cannot reconsider its own decision.
If I am unhappy with the administration of my case, to whom should I complain?
If you have a complaint about the administration of your case you should write to the President of the LVT. If you remain dissatisfied after receiving a reply from the President you can take the matter further by writing to:
The Senior President
10 Alfred Place
The complaint will then be referred to a committee constituted from the RPTS Management Board. A fully reply will follow within 28 working days, or you will be advised of any delay. You are also entitled to ask your MP to request the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman) to investigate your complaint.
Does the Human Rights Act apply to the LVT s proceedings?
Yes. Parties to an application are entitled to the benefit of the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998. In effect, this entitles them to have their case determined in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Of particular relevance is Article 6 of the Convention which provides that parties have the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time and before an impartial tribunal. This includes their right to put their case and to question the case brought by the other party and to be given reasons for the decision of the LVT. Also relevant is Article 8, which provides that everyone has the right to respect for his private life, his home and his correspondence any internal inspection of the property will only be undertaken with the consent of the occupier. In making their decisions, LVTs are obliged to have regard to he rights embodied in the Convention and where possible to interpret legislation consistently with those rights.
Annex A: ODPM guidance
The booklets available from the ODPM include:
Long Leaseholder (97 HC 186)
Applying to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (97 HC 200)
A full list of booklets and copies of each are available from:
ODPM Free Literature
PO Box No 236, Wetherby LS23 7NB
Telephone: 0870 1226236
Facsimile: 0870 1226237
Text phone: 0870 1207405
Annex B: Panel information
Northern Rent Assessment Panel
President: Martin Davey LLB
Panel Secretary: Marj Foster and Alison Lomax ( job share)
20th Floor, Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1 4BE
Telephone: 0845 1002614
Facsimile: 0161 237 3656
Midland Rent Assessment Panel
President: Simon Duffy
Panel Secretary: Maureen McCabe
2nd Floor, East Wing, Ladywood House,
45-46 Stephenson Street, Birmingham B2 4DH
Telephone: 0845 1002615
Facsimile: 0121 643 7605
Eastern Rent Assessment Panel
President: Bruce Edgington
Panel Secretary: Ann Oates
Great Eastern House, Tenison Road, Cambridge CB1 2TR
Telephone: 0845 1002616
Facsimile: 01223 505116
London Rent Assessment Panel
President: Siobhan McGrath
Panel Secretary: Donald Brown
10 Alfred Place, London WC1E 7LR
Telephone: 020 7446 7700
Facsimile: 020 7637 1250
Southern Rent Assessment Panel
President: Robert Long
Panel Secretary: Terry Pinker
1st Floor, 1 Market Avenue, Chichester PO19 1JU
Telephone: 0845 1002617
Facsimile: 01243 779389