Service charge apportionment and the role of the FTT: Supreme Court to consider the issue

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On 8 December 2022, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Williams and others v Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd and another. The case is likely to have implications for hundreds of thousands of residential leaseholders and their landlords. Where – as in this case – a lease sets the service charge apportionment at a fixed % per flat, but additionally gives the landlord a power to re-apportion service charge costs in such manner as the landlord may reasonably determine, how is that latter provision to be exercised?

The First Tier Tribunal held that it was empowered to determine what was a reasonable apportionment. By contrast, the Upper Tribunal held that the effect of s.27A(6), Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 was that the reapportionment provision was void so that the service charges were to be apportioned as per the initial fixed figures. The Court of Appeal restored the decision of the FTT but additionally stressed that it would be open to either the landlord or the leaseholders to apply to the FTT to have it determine what was a reasonable apportionment.

The leaseholders now appeal to the Supreme Court seeking to have the decision of the Upper Tribunal restored.

Simon Allison and Brooke Lyne act for the landlords.

Justin Bates and Rupert Cohen act for The Property Institute, which has been permitted to intervene by way of written submissions so as to present the views of the wider property management industry.

More details can be found on the Supreme Court website, here.

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