Attached is the determination of the Lands Tribunal in Mr and Mrs Francis appeal, of two issues from the First tier Tribunal (FtT) determination, of the reasonableness of the 2020 On-Account Demand. These being the staff accommodation costs and the service charge divisor.
The appeal of staff accommodation costs was refused on the grounds that the loss of rental of two lodges was a notional cost and not allowed under the terms of the lease. The claim for loss of rental of £18,000 was disallowed.
The appeal of the service charge divisor was allowed as the accommodation in dispute was being used for warden accommodation. The Land Tribunal restored to divisor back to 176 from 177 for 2020.
The tenants of Atlantic Bays represented by the PCTA have been successful in their appeal of the costs award associated with their application for an injunction for service charge accounts to be supplied for years 2017 to 2019.
Following the failure despite repeated requests for accounts for years 2017-2019 the PCTA applied to the courts for an injunction. The landlords eventually supplied the accounts prior to a hearing taking place and the PCTA applied to the courts for their costs.
The PCTA were not granted their costs on a technicality, which we considered gave a signal to landlords that it was OK to withhold accounts until forced into supplying them. The appeal court judge agreed an error in law had taken place and reinstated our costs for the injunction but refused us costs for the appeal. It seems no matter how just your case some you just cannot win.
Following complaints to the Solicitors Regulation Authority by the landlords of Atlantic Bays and their solicitor Enigma the PCTA solicitor Mr Knapper was referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
After a five day hearing the PCTA are pleased to announce that all allegations have been defeated and Mr Knapper absolved of all accusations of dishonesty or reckless action.
The full judgement will be published here when available.
The First Tier Tribunal have reached a decision on the landlords application to determine if their 2020 On-Account demand is reasonable.
The demand was for £1,933.70 this has been reduced to £1,474.89.
The landlords at Atlantic Bays alleged that the leaseholders represented by the tenants association, the PCTA had committed fraud during the Phillips & Goddard v Francis & Francis litigation in 2009. The PCTA applied for the application to be struck out and won on all counts.
HHJ Cotter ruled that
- The claim was out of time – allegations of this sort have a time limit of 6 years and the landlords had knowledge of the allegations in 2012.
- The landlord elected during proceedings in what was known as Part 2 not to reopen the Part 1 proceedings on the basis of new evidence.
- The landlords entered into a Consent Order in 2013 settling charges for 2008/9 and referring any outstanding charges to the First tier Tribunal and could not now go behind this order.
- The application was an abuse of court time and had little chance of succeeding.
Permission to appeal the judgement of Justice Birss in Bristol January 2019 has been refused.
The Tribunal has reached a determination of service charges for years 2013 – 2016.
2013 – £480
2014 – £491.92
2015 – £805.73
2016 – £1019.20
The landlords at Atlantic Bays have been refused permission to appeal three judgements of HHJ Cotter concerning the 2008/9 service charge and associated costs.
Their application for specific disclosure of PCTA privileged documentation was also refused with costs against them.
DOC Minute of Order Appeal Ref 8BS0081C 31 January 2019
HHJ Cotter sitting in the County Court Exeter has ruled that the landlords of Atlantic Bays cannot charge 75% of their legal costs incurred in the County Court hearings Part 1 and 2 to the service charge. See ruling below
s20C Judgment dated 17-05-19
The ruling of course does not apply to non-applicants and those chalet owners who did not take part can be charged their proportion of the costs in full.
Mr and Mrs Francis applied for permission to appeal the decision in Francis v Knapper and Others.
This permission has been refused by the Court of Appeal, see link to decision below.
F v CK Permission to Appeal refused 17-05-30
Lord Justice Flaux makes it clear in paragraphs 1 and 2 that the alleged new evidence would have had no effect on the decision reached by Andrew Baker J in the High Court.