Extending a Lease? Fight For It at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
Are you the owner of a leasehold flat, and you feel your service charges are unreasonable or your freeholder is asking for an unfair amount to extend the lease? Or you might be being charged too much for the building insurance? Regardless of the problem, you’ve decided to approach the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (also known as the LVT) for a hearing.
And now what’s the process, what is going to happen at the hearing? There’s no reason to panic. Back yourself with a leasehold extension specialist solicitor and go over our simple guide to release the stress of extending your lease…
The first thing you need to do is to fill in an application form saying what charges or services you have a problem with. To get that form you just have to contact the Residential Property Tribunal Service.
After sending it the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) will send you an invoice for the first part of the fee (which will be around £150). Expect to receive a second invoice just before the hearing for the rest of the fee.
What happens after I send the application?
Step one – Review before the trial.
A member of the LVT panel will look at your case and might offer you the chance to have a review prior to any trial. You will be told 21 days before this date. Both parties should be present as you will have the opportunity to reach agreement prior to going to a full LVT hearing. It’s not necessary to have a legal person present such as a solicitor but you might like having one for peace of mind.
Step two – Full LVT hearing.
If you cannot reach agreement at the review, the LVT will give you a date for a full hearing. Sometimes, the LVT will want to inspect the building or area in question and they will do so on the morning of the hearing. Make sure both sides go to this inspection. After this both sides will use the hearing to talk about the case, allowing the LVT members to come to their decision.
Step three – Decision by the LVT.
The LVT will write to both parties once the full hearing has been completed. This should take approximately two weeks.
Step four – Appeal.
If you do not agree with the LVT’s decision, you can make an appeal to the Lands Tribunal. You must make any appeal to the LVT within 21 days of receiving their decision, and it has to be based on a good reason (it can’t just be that you are unhappy with the ruling!).
By dividing this process into these steps you can feel more prepared. With professional support and the right information, you can proceed with your leasehold extension, or any issue that you are taking to tribunal, with confidence. You can make sure you’re treated fairly when extending a lease – and win.