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Upper Tribunal clarifies meaning of “reasonably incurred” in s.19(1) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 for waking watch costs

3rd November 2022

Assethold Ltd v Alexandra Adam and 14 other leaseholders of Corben Mews [2022] UKUT (LC)

Mark Loveday and Richard Miller acted for the successful landlord in an important Upper Tribunal appeal about the application of s.19 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to the costs of a ‘waking watch’. The high costs of waking watches have been a controversial aspect of fire safety since the tragic events at Grenfell Tower.

In a detailed judgment, Judge Cooke upheld the landlord’s appeal and determined the waking watch costs were “reasonably incurred” under the Act. The landlord, Assethold Ltd, had been entitled to rely on an expert report by reputable fire safety contractors which recommended that a waking watch be introduced as an interim fire safety measure, notwithstanding that the First-tier Tribunal found the expert report to be deeply flawed. The decision included a close analysis and explanation of the test for s.19(1) of the Act in Waaler v LB Hounslow.

The outcome in this case suggests that landlords who act on the basis of advice of reputable professionals will not be vulnerable to attacks by leaseholders on the professionalism of that advice. It is likely to avoid time-consuming examination of that advice by Tribunals in future cases.

Mark Loveday is a recognised expert on residential property management, and editor of Tanfield on Service Charges & Management (5th Ed). Richard Miller became a tenant at Tanfield Chambers in September 2022 and this is his first appearance in the Upper Tribunal. They were instructed by Lorraine Scott, partner in the specialist landlord and tenant solicitors firm, Scott Cohen Solicitors.

The full decision can be read here.

Team: Mark Loveday
Expertise: Landlord & Tenant

Disclaimer

This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/ or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of Chambers or by Chambers as a whole.

 

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