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Law Commission proposes revamp to right-to-manage rules

The Law Commission has detailed a series of proposals with the intention of making the current right-to-manage setup quicker and easier to use.

RTM describes the process whereby homeowners with long leases on flats can take responsibilities for management functions from landlords on a “no-fault” basis.

The commission has identified problems with the system as it currently stands, saying that the process in taking over management is too expensive, technical, slow, restrictive, and uncertain.

It intends to counter this with the following reforms: Extending criteria so that houses can qualify for RTM; permitting multi-block RTM and removing commercial space restrictions; reducing the number of notices leaseholders must serve; introducing deadlines for the exchange of information between the landlord at the RTM company; making costs more balanced; and giving the tribunal exclusive jurisdiction over RTM disputes.

Commercial and common law commissioner Stephen Lewis says: “The RTM process is not working at the moment and change is needed.

“This is a very practical project and we’ve been focused on developing proposals that make sure the right to manage is more user-friendly, particularly for leaseholders.

“We look forward to hearing how the public thinks we can make the process as effective as possible.”

The Welsh government’s minister for housing and local government Julie James comments: “RTM has not been widely adopted in Wales, and we have heard anecdotal evidence that the procedures are difficult and allow freeholders to obstruct the wishes of leaseholders attempting to exercise the right.

“We want to make it easier for leaseholders to take ownership of managing their property and we welcome the Law Commission’s proposals to reform the process”.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler adds: “This government is determined to reform the leasehold sector to better support homeowners. This includes making it easier for those who wish to exercise their RTM and take direct control of their block.

“I welcome the law commission’s consultation proposals and encourage all those with an interest to come forward and offer their views.”

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