Conveyancing in Hampstead – Attempt to Vary Scheme of Management Fails

In 2007 as an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal was made under Section 159(3) of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 for the variation of the estate management scheme operated in respect of the new Hampstead Garden Suburb. Fridaysmove conducts Conveyancing in Hampstead and is used to advising buyers and sellers on this particular scheme of management.

Hampstead Garden Suburb was created by Henrietta Barnett at the beginning of the last century, her aim being to provide better housing for the poor. The Suburb was designed to include a variety of classes of person living as a community in well designed houses grouped at low density, surrounded by gardens with access to a variety of open spaces. The Suburb covers some 800 acres and includes roughly 3, 500 houses and 1, 500 flats.

In January 1968, the provisions of Part I of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 came into effect granting leaseholders the right to acquire the freehold interest in their houses. In March 1968, the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust Ltd. (the Trust) was incorporated. Its principal object, set out in its memorandum of association, is to do all things possible in order to maintain and preserve the present (sic) character and amenities of the area of the Suburb and to provide people of all classes with houses with gardens or houses in close proximity to gardens and open spaces.

On January 17, 1974, the High Court approved the Hampstead Garden Suburb Scheme of Management under the provisions of the 1967 Act. Initially, the scheme provided for the payment of a contribution to the costs of managing and maintaining the estate of £2. 00 for each enfranchised property. This level of charge was to apply for five years following which an application could be made for a re-assessment to be undertaken by a surveyor appointed by the President of the RICS. In the event, an application for a variation of the scheme was sought from the Court and amendments to the mechanism for calculating the charge were approved in 1983.

As  part of Conveyancing in Hampstead Garden Suburb our Conveyancing in Hampstead team ensures that all payments are up to dates and covenants complied with. It was agreed that the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal should make a staged determination. By section 159(4) of the Act, the LVT can only make an order varying the scheme "if the grounds on which the application was made are established to the satisfaction of the Tribunal. " In this case the LVT would have to satisfy itself first that the relevant formula is "unreasonable" (section 159(3)(b)). If so satisfied it would then go on to decide on an appropriate variation.

In the end the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal considered that the grounds for the application in section 159(3)(b) of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 were not made out. It was not satisfied that the formula specified in the scheme in accordance with which any estate charge is calculated was unreasonable.

For further information concerning conveyancing in Hampstead and the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust please contact our Coonveyancing Hampstead team.

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