With the increased use of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) to settle an increasing number of landlord and tenant disputes, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with an overview of what exactly the LVT is and what it can do.
What is the LVT?
The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal is a Tribunal established by an act of parliament which has jurisdiction to determine various types of landlord and tenant disputes involving residential property in the public and private sectors. An LVT panel consists of three individuals; one with a background in property law, one with a background in property valuation and a layman.
What is covered by the LVT’s jurisdiction?
The LVT has a wide ranging jurisdiction over all aspects of residential leasehold property including the determination of service charges, variation of long leases, determining the amount payable for a lease extension and appointing managers for buildings which are improperly managed. The LVT also has the power to provide dispensation to landlords from compliance for statutory consultation.
How does the LVT differ from the County Court process?
The LVT is a more informal arena and the process is less adversarial. The LVT provides a more open platform for the parties to discuss their dispute and has a limited power to award costs up to a maximum limit of £500. It is therefore a popular choice for individuals, who have a limited costs risk. Where professional advisors are instructed, it should be borne in mind that such costs are unlikely to be recoverable.
How do I apply to the LVT?
Applications should be made on paper using forms which can be downloaded from the LVT website. There is usually a small fee payable, although individuals can apply for dispensation from paying the fee. Once the application has been submitted, the LVT will write to both parties giving directions as to the provision of documents and witness statements. Some applications can be heard on paper (ie without a formal hearing). However, where there are significant issues to discuss, the LVT will usually call for a hearing in person.
How long does the LVT process take?
This depends on the amount of documentation, the nature of the application and the Tribunal’s availability. By way of example, a simple application for a determination of reasonableness of service charge will usually take four to six months from start to finish.
Wright Hassall has extensive experience in dealing with LVT applications, ranging from simple service charge disputes to applications for retrospective dispensation and the appointment of managers. Wright Hassall has acted for landlords, managing agents and local authorities in LVT proceedings both on paper and at formal hearings.