Leasehold valuation tribunal

A Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) is a statutory tribunal in England which determine various types of landlord and tenant dispute involving residential property in the private sector. An LVT consists of a panel of three; one with a background in property law (generally a solicitor); one with a background in property valuation generally a qualified surveyor; and a layman, although some decisions of an LVT may be decided by a single member. LVTs are Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

Jurisdiction

They currently determine:
*Prices to be paid by tenants compulsorily acquiring either the freehold of houses or lease extensions of flats or collective freehold purchase of flats
*Disputes in relation to service charges
*The appointment of managers and receivers for flats improperly managed
*Findings as to whether a leaseholder is or is not in breach of the terms of his lease

History

Initially created by the Housing Act 1980 which transferred certain jurisdiction from the Lands Tribunal (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) Lands Tribunal (a Superior tribunal of England and Wales), functions have since been expanded by the Leasehold Reform and Urban Development Act 1993 and the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

Lease extension

One of the earliest functions of the LVT was to determine disputes concerning the extension of leases.

Historically, when a lease ran out the property held there under would revert to the possession of the landlord/freeholder. In this case, the job of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal is to hear evidence from both sides as to what the long leasehold value of such a property would be and to determine what proportions of value of the said property should rightfully be ascribed to leaseholder and the freeholder under the legislation. Generally such evidence is given by an expert witness for each side who will argue that a particular value is more applicable based on an analysis of recent sales of comparable properties around the date that the Leasehold Enfranchisement Notice was served.

In many parts of the UK there are substantial freeholders who historically have owned and continue to own large land holdings, and this ownership has been and continues to be passed under leased ownership to sub landlords and leaseholders; this system was particularly suitable when areas of London were initially built on greenfield land, and later in the period immediately after the WWII, when considerable renovation and rebuilding was urgently required, the estates were able to effectively sub contract redevelopment to sub landlords, known as head lessors.

The most notable London estates are those of the Crown Estate, the Duke of Westminster, Earl Cadogan, and Lord Howard de Walden; with the changes in legislation these freeholders are now obliged to sell lease extensions under the various Acts of Parliament which have been passed at prices agreed by negotiation or determined by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. Appeals against decisions of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal are made to the Lands Tribunal.

Composition

Tribunals technically comprise members drawn from one of the five Rent Assessment Panels of England, constituted under Schedule 10 of the Rent Act 1977. Such members also sit on Rent Assessment Committees which determine Fair Rents under s. 70 of the Rent Act 1977, Rent Tribunals under the same Act which determine rents payable under Restricted Contracts (room lettings) and Residential Property Tribunals which were created by the Housing Act 2004.

A legally qualified chairman sitting with a chartered surveyor and a lay member usually constitute the tribunal. However, a small number of chairmen are chartered surveyors and a small number of members of other professions have also been appointed to sit. Chairmen are appointed by the Lord Chancellor and other Members by the Secretary of State.

External links

* [http://www.rpts.gov.uk/about_us/lvt.htm Government LVT website]
* [http://www.lease-advice.org/ a free list of LVT decisions on the leasehold advisory service website]
* [http://www.freeholdcalculator.com/ an online calculator for the cost of buying a share of freehold]


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