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Issue No. 107 Winter 2013


Federation of Private Residents’ Associations Newsletter


5


the money to meet the bills. Thus, if you have a project costing (for your 16 flats) £4,000 or more, the S20 procedure should be used. Recently, a legal decision means that if you propose to spend more than a total of £4,000 in one year, the S20 rules apply. It is hoped that this change can be reversed (see page three).


Q A


Service Charges Vary We have three rates of service charge based on the old rateable values, which is obsolete, as you will appreciate. We are thinking of bringing things into line so that everyone pays the same. We would raise this at our AGM and wonder if you can see any issues please? FPRA replies:


I think a special resolution at the AGM will be required, as otherwise the leases may need to be changed. Those flats who will be asked to pay a higher proportion may well object if it is made uniform without their knowledge or prior consent. I note also that the flat lease provided has only 60 years remaining. Thus, if none of the flats have been granted lease extensions it may be something that the management company could ask the freeholder to negotiate when doing so, in the future. Alternatively, the members/shareholders of the management company would need to covenant to pay their due equal proportion when there is a conveyance. It is not a simple matter to alter proportions without all agreeing 100 per cent.


A solicitor’s advice may be needed. Statutory Notices


Q A


Can you advise whether the wording of the Statutory Notices is expected to change as the result of the demise of the LVT now that its duties (expanded) come under the auspices of First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). And, if so, are we likely to see revised downloadable Notices? FPRA replies: Yes, all of the amendments to statutory instruments, including statutory notices, are listed in Schedule 2 of the Transfer of Tribunal Functions Order 2013. www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111534267/ schedule/2 Your member will no doubt be aware that demands for service charges and administration charges must be accompanied by a summary of tenants’ rights and obligations. Those summaries are in a prescribed form, and the prescribed form has changed, from July 1, 2013. It is imperative that the new form is used, or the recipients of any service charge demands will have the right to withhold payment. You can find the amended form for service charges on the LEASE website: www.lease-advice.org. The amended form for admin charges can be found on the members’ area of our website. For clarity, I have set out the wording of the changes to the summaries of rights (for service charges and admin charges), below:


1. For administration charges: The Administration Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations) (England) Regulations 2007 37. The Administration Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations) (England) Regulations 2007(17) are amended as follows. 38. In regulation 2 (form and content of summary of rights and obligations): a) in paragraphs (4) and (5), for “a leasehold valuation tribunal” substitute “the First-tier Tribunal”;


b) for paragraphs (6) and (7), substitute— (6) Where you seek a determination or order from the First-tier Tribunal, you will have to pay an application fee and, where the matter proceeds to an oral hearing, a hearing fee, unless you qualify for fee remission or exemption. Making such an application may incur additional costs, such as professional fees, which you may have to pay. (7) The First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal (in determining an appeal against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal) have the power to award costs in accordance with section 29 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.


2. For service charges: The Service Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations, and Transitional Provision) (England) Regulations 2007 39. The Service Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations, and Transitional Provision) (England) Regulations 2007(18) is amended as follows. 40. In regulation 3 (form and content of summary of rights and obligations of interest)— a) in paragraphs (3), (7) and (8), for “a leasehold valuation tribunal” substitute “the First-tier Tribunal”;


b) for paragraphs (5) and (6) substitute— (5) Where you seek a determination from the First-tier Tribunal, you will have to pay an application fee and, where the matter proceeds to an oral hearing, a hearing fee, unless you qualify for fee remission or exemption. Making such an application may incur additional costs, such as professional fees, which you may have to pay. (6) The First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal (in determining an appeal against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal) have the power to award costs in accordance with section 29 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.


The words “leasehold valuation” have also been removed from RTM Claim Notices & Counter Notices (in the notes section). It is worth perusing the TTFO 2013 to see what amendments might affect you.


Q


What is a Family? What is the legal limit of how many people can live in a two bedroom flat? Our lease refers to a family, ie two adults and children.


Continued on page six


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