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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Management problems and leasehold property

If you live in a leasehold property, you have certain rights to ensure the good management of the building. Find out what these are and what you can do if you're unhappy with the management provided by the landlord or their managing agent.

Checking the management of your building

Right to manage?

See if you could take over the management of your building

A management audit is a check on the management functions of your landlord or their managing agent. For example, to see if the service charges are being spent in a cost-effective way. You could use the information from an audit to raise any issues with the landlord.

You can only arrange an audit if you meet these conditions:

  • you hold a 'long lease', usually this means it was originally granted to last more than 21 years
  • you pay a variable service charge (one that changes each year)
  • two thirds of the other leaseholders agree to it

You must pay for the audit yourself and there are rules on who can do it. For example, they must be a qualified accountant and can't be a leaseholder in your building or connected to the landlord.

If you're part of a Recognised Tenants' Association (RTA), the RTA could appoint a surveyor. A surveyor can do more than check the efficiency and effectiveness of the landlord's management. They can offer advice, for example, if the work you're being asked to pay for was done properly.

Download 'Appointment of a surveyor, management audits' for more information on audits and appointing a surveyor.

Standards of management

There are codes of good management practice that landlords can choose to follow. They are produced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The Association of Retirement Housing Managers (for leasehold retirement homes).

These codes of practice are often used to help settle disputes about management standards. For example, even if your landlord doesn't follow them, a court or tribunal will compare their management to the standards set out in these documents.

Changing the management of your building

If you live in a leasehold flat and you're unhappy about how the building is being managed you could:

  • take over the management responsibilities, known as your 'Right to Manage'
  • ask the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) to appoint a manager to take over

The LVT is an independent legal body that can settle certain types of leasehold dispute without the need to go to court.

Right to manage

If you qualify for the Right to Manage, you don't have to prove bad management to take over from the landlord. To qualify, you need to:

  • meet certain conditions - for example, your building must contain at least two flats
  • pay your landlord's legal costs for dealing with your Right to Manage application
  • set up a company with the other leaseholders to manage the building

Appointing a new manager

If you want to ask the LVT to appoint a new manager, you have to:

  • meet certain conditions, see below
  • prove the landlord's bad management

If you qualify, you can nominate (choose) a person or company to carry out the management functions of your building. If approved, they will then run the building or just carry out specific duties approved by the LVT. For advice on appointing an agent, download the guide 'Appointing a managing agent'.

Qualifying for the right

You can apply to the LVT on your own or together with the other 'qualifying leaseholders'. To qualify, there are certain conditions you need to meet, including:

  • the building contains more than two flats
  • at least half the flats are held on a 'long lease', usually this means it was originally granted to last more than 21 years


Even if you meet all the conditions, there are times when you can't ask the LVT to appoint a new manager. For example, your landlord is a local authority or housing association. Download 'Applications to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal - a guide' for more detail.

How much does it cost?

There is a hearing fee for the tribunal and an application fee. The application fee varies depending on the number of flats in the building. Download 'Applications to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal - a guide' for more information about fees.

Steps to appoint a new manager

You have to tell the landlord what your issues are and give them the chance to sort them out. To do this, use the form 'Preliminary notice, application for the appointment of a manager'.

If the issues aren't resolved, you should choose a new manager (this can be a person or company) and make an application to the LVT.

For more detail, download the guide 'Applications to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal'.

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