Under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 qualifying long leaseholders of flats are able to set up and join a “Right to Manage company” (RTM company) in order to take over management of their building and appoint managing agents of their choosing.
To summarise very briefly, the process involves the following steps:-
- the RTM company must serve a notice of invitation to participate to each person who is a qualifying tenant of a flat contained in the premises;
- after 14 days of service of the notice, if enough leaseholders have agreed to participate, the RTM company may serve a notice on the landlord informing them that they intend to take over management of the building;
- if the landlord wishes to object to the claim, they can serve a counter-notice. In the event that a counter-notice is served, the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) determines whether the RTM company is entitled to take over management of the building.
In the recent case of Triplerose Ltd v Mill House RTM Company  UKUT 80 (LC), it was held that the failure of an RTM company to serve notices in the prescribed form invalidated the claim. It can be seen, therefore, that the process is not without its technical difficulties. There is ample scope for the existing landlord to frustrate the wishes of the leaseholders in acquiring control of management.
In order to take advantage of the right to manage, it is therefore vital that notices are served in the correct form in order to avoid invalidating the claim.