1. Canvas leaseholders to ensure minimum 50% participation
2. Collect funds to start application (see costs below)
3. Obtain and inspect all Land Registry Titles for all flats
4. Identify and collect information for RTM company directors
5. Form RTM Company
6. Have all participants sign an RTM company application
7. Formally invite the non-participants for the building (wait 2-3 weeks)
8. Prepare and send the RTM Claim form to freeholder
9. Answer questions and challenges from Freeholder’s solicitor
10. After 1 month, hopefully receive landlord’s agreement with RTM, or no response, which is a default agreement
11. Wait 3 months as defined in the legislation
12. RTM company takes over management responsibility and can select a new managing agent
If at step 10 the freeholder issues a Counter Notice refusing the RTM, there are additional options:
1. Withdraw the RTM Claim (freeholder legal costs still payable
2. Take a case for RTM to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT)
There are two paths to take if taken to the LVT (LVT decides which is appropriate)
1. Paper decision – Send in an application, prepare the case arguments and statements (this is the most commonly requested)
2. In-person hearing – Send in an application, prepare the case arguments and statements and attend the oral hearing and present the case
Option 1 is to do it yourself. This would entail filling out all the paperwork, setting up the company, issuing the notice on the Freeholder, and dealing with any responses, objections or counter notices (that are sent back from the Freeholders Solicitor once you have served your notice) yourself.
Keep in mind, the RTM was designed to be accessible, and so the paperwork needed for an application is relatively straightforward (and available here). Setting up a company is also easy, and ltd companies can be bought ‘off the shelf’. If you live in a small property, if there are no complicating factors or grey areas (like these), or particularly – if the Freeholder is happy with your application and you don’t think they will contest it, this could be a good option for you.
Option 2 is to use a lawyer. There are lots of good firms out there who specialise in property, or large firms with property teams. Some of these have individual practitioners who specialse further, and concentrate on enfranchisements and management takeovers. If you are going to using a lawyer our advice would definitely be to seek out a specialist. We cant see the argument to use a lawyer unless its one that specialises.
If your application is likely to be complex or contentious, using a lawyer could be the best option, if for no other reason that it will create peace of mind – an important consideration if you are trying to coral together a large group of residents. It will also cost the most.
Option 3 is a specialist who isn’t a lawyer and there are several practitioners (that we know of) who do nothing other than Right to Manage Applications. Their argument is that you don’t need a law degree when you’ve completed so many applications that you know the process inside out. There are merits to this argument – particularly if you are confident that your application is on a sure footing.
Two of the areas that generally cause the most confusion & complications in new RTM applications:
Under a recent ruling, buildings which are vertically separated (ie, they aren’t ‘attached’ to a neighbouring property by anything such as a walkway, atriums, or underground car park) must now make separate applications – even if they are part of the same estate or development. It’s fair to say the industry is still finding its feet with this legislation, and some Freeholders are using it as a reason to force Residents Groups to re-serve Right To Manage Applications which have already been made.
In the picture below, despite being separate buildings, a joint application would have to be made – as there is a shared glass walkway linking them together.
The Right to Manage process isn’t available to you if more than 25% of the property (as total square footage) is demised for Commercial Use. If it’s ‘borderline’ (a few percent over) it may still be worth putting in an application. It would be down to The Freeholder to object, and would then likely be referred to a specialist tribunal to rule upon (The first Tier Property Tribunal). They have the power to making a ruling in your favour and sometimes do, even when the percentage is slightly ‘over’.