Welcome to Law and Lease, a blog recording and commenting on decisions made by the Lands Tribunal and courts of record in England and Wales about residential service charges.
I am a barrister called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2004. I am a member of Tanfield Chambers, a set of barristers’ chambers located in central London.
Tanfield Chambers authors “Service Charges and Management: Law and Practice”, published by Sweet & Maxwell, now in its second third edition, and runs an annual service charge summit, normally at the end of September, in conjunction with News on the Block.
I started this blog because I found that the search facility on the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) website did not cater for the searches I needed. Whilst the major legal databases provide comprehensive search facilities, it seemed to me that it would be a good and useful thing to write a blog recording decisions given by the Lands Chamber and courts of record because by reporting those decisions, I would be furthering my own knowledge and producing a growing database which would be practical and useful to landlords, tenants and their representatives.
My service charge practice began in 2008 when I represented the Respondent landlord in an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal by a disgruntled tenant who took issue with fourteen years of service charges. The technical meaning of service charge, limitation, the quality of services provided and management fees were among the disputed issues.
My practice has expanded since then. I have represented landlords, tenants and managing agents in cases covering disputes ranging from the interpretation of leases to historic neglect, and from dispensation from the requirement to consult for major works to the interface between the Decent Homes programme and service charges.
As I write this in the twilight of 2014, Law and Lease is over two years old and is a finalist in the Best Services Provider category of the Property Management Awards. It has been more rewarding than I imagined it could be: I know my service charge law pretty well now, but I also know many of the characters on the service charge stage, and the broader issues affecting them as landlords and lessees.
I hope you enjoy my blog. If you have any suggestions for its improvement, do please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.