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Appointment of a Manager | Recent Case Decision

Impact of (1) Octagon Overseas Limited (2) Canary Riverside Estate Management Limited –v- Alan Coates on Appointment of a Manager:

This is an interesting case which was decided on Appeal on 18th April 2017 by the Chancery Division of the High Court.

The matter concerns circumstances where the First-tier tribunal has been asked to appoint a Manager pursuant to S24 Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. An application to appoint a manager (in place of the existing Manager) can be made in respect of any development where there are 2 or more flats.

The First-tier Tribunal will make an order appointing a manager where there has been a breach of management obligations by the existing manager and it is just and convenient to do so. This means that any such appointment is fault based and, as a result, there is often a certain amount of enmity between the old manager and the newly appointed manager.

In this case, the Tribunal had stated as part of the appointment of the new manager that the old managers had to hand over various papers and documents relating to the management of the development. They failed to do so and the new manager then applied to the County Court for an injunction requiring delivery up of these documents. This is due to the fact that the First-tier Tribunal has no jurisdiction to enforce its own orders. Such application was successful at first instance and the matter then went to Appeal.

It has now been decided, on Appeal that the injunction could not stand. Injunctive relief is dependent upon having an underlying cause of action and, in this matter, there was no such cause of action. The correct process when seeking to enforce a decision of the First-tier Tribunal is to apply back to the Tribunal for Directions and THEN ask the Court to enforce such Directions if the other party does not obey them.

This case lays down a two stage process for enforcement action, first apply to the Tribunal and then to the Court. It will not be sufficient to make application to the Court unless there is an order for it to enforce. This is undoubtedly a principle which will be upheld in respect of other tribunal decisions which need to be enforced by Landlords or Managing agents. Contact Charlotte Collins at cc@slcsolicitors.com or call 0333 0300 200 who will be happy to assist with any queries you may have.

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