/ Any property lawyers on here..?

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Jamie Wakeham 12 Aug 2019

As I think I've mentioned on here before, I chair the company that's responsible for running the private estate I live on.  I'm hoping someone might have a better grasp of the 1987 Landlord & Tenant act than I do - I don't want to go and pay our solicitors for yet more advice!

Simple question: does the 1987 act forbid a Residential Management Company from making changes to the lease regulations, even if the lease contains a clause that gives them permission to do so?

A bit more context: our lease has seven schedules of terms, and an 8th schedule of regulations.  This 8th schedule is all about putting your rubbish in the bins stores, not practising the tuba late at night - that sort of thing.  It includes the line that bicycles may not be placed (1) anywhere within the common areas of the grounds or buildings, or (2) in the covered parking bays.  The is despite the fact that the parking bays are actually demised to the individual owners, and leaves us with the slightly bonkers situation of bike only being permitted in the flats themselves.

Bikes are now becoming a problem - there are several in each stairwell.  I clearly need to have them moved - they're a fire hazard and prevent meters from being read.  The owners have been polled about having a bike store built and are very much against the idea.

By far the easiest solution would be to suggest to everyone that they put a bike lock in the back of their parking bays (in fact some have already).  And I thought we could do that - because the 7th schedule of the lease says that the company has "the power to revoke or amend ... the regulations set out in the Eighth Schedule".  So all I need to do is have the board amend the regs about parking spaces to permit bikes.

However, an owner has suggested that the 1987 act forbids the company from altering the lease, even though the lease itself grants the power to do so.  I've been reading around this legislation, and it looks to me as though it exists to specifically grant new ways to vary a lease (sections 35-37).  I cannot see anywhere that it prevents me from using the existing power in the lease to change a regulation.  Does anyone know for certain?

Post edited at 09:39
DancingOnRock 12 Aug 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

I’m not a lawyer but am in a similar situation to you. However, my situation regards parking in the entry to our close which occasionally builds up and we send letters out reminding people. The issue then goes away for a few weeks and then starts building up again  

It’s up to the management company whether they enforce the regulations and if the residents agree that they don’t need to be enforced then the management company has a get out. It would have to be reviewed when someone new moves in. The residents could claim that you’re not doing your job, either way, and try to withhold service charges, but if you have an agreement, that’s not likely to happen. I wouldn’t be attempting to change leases.

Jamie Wakeham 13 Aug 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Cheers.  Getting a formal answer to this is proving very hard.  We really don't want to just turn a blind eye - that sets the directors up for problems if anyone complains in the future.  Formally changing the regulation seems the watertight solution; I fear I'm going to have to pay a solicitor to confirm that we really can do this.

DancingOnRock 13 Aug 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Not if you get the AGM minutes signed by all the residents. Just need to have an agreement that the current lease still holds but bicycles will be tolerated if they’re locked in the garages. 

Your current lease will probably only be a standard lease agreement designed to keep the common areas tidy and prevent disagreements. There’s probably something in it about bonfires, caravans and tradesmen’s vehicles as well. Usually it’s very hard to keep on top of it as issuing fines on residents is impossible, so the directors taking people to court to get them to comply is the only recourse. Are you currently willing to do that, would the residents pay for that kind of legal action? 

Post edited at 13:46
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Why would the 1987 Act stop you doing this? Tell your sea-lawyer to quote the section he has in mind.

jcm


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