Service charge – apportionment of costs
3 leaseholders argued that their repairing covenant was not engaged by a window replacement programme. Upholding the FTT’s decision, the UT held that the freeholders of a block of flats were not entitled to recover the costs of replacing windows and window frames through a service charge arising from a repairing covenant in the leases. Although the windows and sub-frames were in need of redecoration and isolated repairs, they were generally in a satisfactory condition and the defects could be remedied at low cost.
Service charges – construction - appointment
A section 106 agreement limited the service charges payable by occupiers of social housing to £522 per annum at the time of first sale but made no provisions regarding who was to bear the shortfall between the service charge payable and the cost of the provision of those services. The freeholder therefore sought to recover the shortfall from the non-social housing units. The FTT focused on whether this was recoverable. The private tenancy leases contained a drafting error which meant that the private tenants were required to pay a substantial sum (10%) relating to all the buildings on the developments. The method of calculation adopted by the landlord however resulted in it recovering less than (10%) which was the stipulated percentage in the lease of the relevant costs, therefore removing the main effect of the drafting error.
The Upper Tribunal therefore overturned the FTT’s decision made on an application under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.27A that service charges payable by a private tenant were unreasonable to the extent that they subsidised social housing tenants in the same building. The tribunal had failed to fulfil its obligation under s.27A to determine the amount of service charges payable and to construe the lease by examining the words used.
Rollerteam Limited v Aidiniantz and Riley  EWCA Civ 1291, 16th December 2016
Disposition of land – s.2 LP(MP)A 1989
The case concerned whether an agreement intended to settle 4 sets of legal proceedings between family members was void for failure to comply with Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 s.2. The trial judge found that the execution of 2 declarations of trust formed part of the consideration provided by one party for the obligations undertaken by the other and that a contract was formed once the deed was signed. The Court of Appeal held that the section did not apply to an agreement under which a party executed declarations of trust over certain properties, so the agreement was not void for failing to comply with s.2. Section 2 applied to contracts for the disposition of land, not to actual dispositions of land, and the execution of the declarations had itself been an integral part of the formation of the contract.
Hawk Recovery Limited v Hall & Hall  EWHC 3260, 21st December 2016
Beneficial ownership – possession orders
The Claimant sought repayment of monies from the Defendant. The Defendants were adjudicated bankrupt and the beneficial interest in their property vested in their Trustee in bankruptcy. The Master held that the Claimant was entitled to the beneficial interest in the property and that the Defendants should transfer the legal title to him. They refused and the Claimant sought a possession order. The court held that the Claimant, as a beneficial owner of land seeking possession of land he has, a better right to possession of the land than a bare legal owner who has been ordered by the court to transfer that legal title to the beneficial owner but refuses to comply, even when the bare legal owner is in actual possession of the land at the time the matter is adjudicated.