Right to Manage News

RTMF offer help following Triplerose

Tuesday 27th October 2015

Following the Court of Appeal decision in Triplerose Ltd v Ninety Broomfield Road RTM Co Ltd [2015] it is now law that a RTM company can only manage premises comprising one single building or part of a building. The Right to Manage Federation (RTMF) has evidence that some landlords are now threatening enforcement action to prevent RTM companies continuing to manage multiple block estates. The RTMF has devised a legal strategy to enable leaseholders to safeguard their Right to Manage (RTM) in light of the retrospective effect of the Triplerose decision.

It is a basic feature of our judicial system that a court ruling that changes the law from what was previously thought operates retrospectively as well as prospectively. It is clear from the opinions of the Lords of Appeal in National Westminster Bank pls v Spectrum Plus Limited and others [2005] UKHL 41 that although the court has powers to make a 'prospective overruling' it will vary rarely do so and only in exceptional circumstances.

As a consequence the legal position following Triplerose, with only a few possible exceptions, is that any company managing more than one building or part of a building in the belief that such powers were granted to it by statute is and always has been operating illegally. This is the view taken by the Land Registry Lawyer who has expressly stated that the ruling applies to all RTM companies including RTM companies that acquired RTM before the Triplerose decision.

The RTMF has helped over 7,500 leasehold properties acquire RTM and about 20% of these are potentially affected by the Triplerose decision. RTMF estimates that hundreds of RTM companies throughout England and Wales may be in operational jeopardy.

According to RTMF Director Dudley Joiner, “Triplerose was a bad decision insofar as it does not provide consistency in the law. For almost a decade the tribunals have interpreted the law differently and two Upper Tribunals upheld those decisions. Reversing the interpretation after such a prolonged period does not instil confidence in our justice system. But we are where we are and we have to abide by the law. The RTMF has looked carefully at the legal position and the ramifications of Triplerose and we have a clearly defined strategy to help leaseholders maintain the powers of management until properly constituted RTM companies are formed and RTM legally acquired. Doing nothing is not advisable. It is better to take protective action.”

The RTMF is offering help to all leaseholders and RTM companies at risk from the Triplerose decision. Those affected are invited to email mbaction@rtmf.org.uk for further information.