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FirstPort Property Services Ltd vs. Settlers Court RTM Company and others - (12 Jan 2022)

Court would lean against a construction of legislation which produces absurd or unworkable results


Present appeal concerns the extent of the “right to manage” conferred by Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act, 2002 (“the 2002 Act”). The 2002 Act enables long leasehold tenants of residential flats to take over the management of the building of which, their flats form part through the medium of a company (“the RTM company”) of which they are members, in place either of the landlord or any other person upon whom management rights are conferred under the terms of the leases of the flats.

The Appellant says that, the 2002 Act confers upon the RTM company an exclusive right to manage the relevant building, together with any other facilities used exclusively by tenants within that building, but no right to manage the estate facilities. The First Respondent RTM company claims all those exclusive rights, and also a right to share in the management of the estate facilities, together with any other person entitled or obliged to do so, with the terms of shared management and the allocation of its cost to be resolved between them by agreement.

The RTM under the 2002 Act does not therefore extend to the RTM Company managing the shared Estate Facilities, which do not form part of the "premises" over which the RTM is exercisable. The Appellant remains the sole party responsible for providing the Estate Services to all lessees on the Estate and entitled to levy Estate Charges accordingly, including from the lessees of flats in Settlers Court.

It is well established that, the court will lean against a construction of legislation which produces absurd or unworkable results, if there is an available alternative construction which does not do so.

The right to manage scheme in Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the 2002 Act makes no provision within the statutory right to manage for management by the RTM company of shared estate facilities. It is concerned only with management of the relevant premises, which is the relevant building or part of a building, together with appurtenant property which means nearby physical property over which the occupants of the relevant building (or part) have exclusive rights. The right to manage is an exclusive right in the RTM company to manage the relevant premises, and no provision is made in Chapter 1 for any shared management of anything, save only where the RTM company chooses to agree otherwise. Appeal allowed.


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