To buy or not to buy – that is the question!

In the case of Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd and another v Williams and others [2023], the Supreme Court has held that landlords of leasehold properties have the statutory right to unilaterally reallocate and reapportion charges where they are permitted to do so under the property lease and where reasonable.

This reverses the decisions reached by the Upper Tier Land Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, and it is likely to have significant impact as residential leasehold property owners may now be more willing to actively consider enfranchisement (i.e. purchase of their freehold) rather than face increased service charges.

Freeholders considering amendments to charges, or leaseholders considering leasehold enfranchisement, are urged to seek independent expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

The Supreme Court has handed down judgment in Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd and another (Respondents) v Williams and others (Appellants) [2023] UKSC 6 (8 February 2023).

The judgment addresses the following issues:

To what extent is a term in a residential lease which allows the landlord to revise the tenant’s share of the service charges invalidated by section 27A(6) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985?

If the effect is that any discretion to re-apportion the service charge is transferred from the landlord to the First-tier Tribunal does section 27A(6) enable the tenant as well as the landlord to invoke the Tribunal’s jurisdiction?