Gala Unity Ltd v Ariadne Road RTM Co Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 1372

Gala was the owner of a housing estate which included two blocks of flats. The flats shared the use of gardens, accessways and a bin store with other buildings on the estate. The residents of the two blocks of flats sought to exercise their statutory right to manage under the Leasehold and Commonhold Reform Act 2002. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal found that the right to manage applied not only to the two blocks of flats but also to the “appurtenant property” enjoyed by those flats, including the gardens, accessways and bin store. Gala appealed on the basis that it made no sense for those facilities to be included within the right to manage as they would continue to be used and enjoyed by other parts of the estate and therefore Gala would need to continue to manage them for the benefit of the rest of the estate.

The Upper Tribunal dismissed the appeal. There was nothing in the wording of the 2002 Act which suggested that “appurtenant property” was to be limited to property which was exclusively appurtenant to the building over which the right to manage was sought. The Tribunal accepted that this meant that those areas would be under the dual management of both Gala and the Right to Manage company and that this was not ideal, but the consequences were not so grave, or the end result so manifestly absurd, that the Tribunal would be justified in adding a gloss to the words “appurtenant property” which were already defined in the 2002 Act.