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What Happened At The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal: Granby House v Guinness

Jill Burdett talks us through the process

Written by . Published on April 8th 2014.

What Happened At The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal: Granby House v Guinness

THERE was a packed room when the residents of Granby House faced Guinness Northern Counties at their Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

You will be sat next to people who you feel have made your lives a misery for years but the Tribunal is an arena for questioning and expressing your views to the panel, not for a stand up row.

Hardly surprising really when so many Manchester city centre blocks are contemplating the same thing.

Any landlord who is charging a lot for delivering very little should expect a leaseholder rebellion sometime soon.

Manchester City Council’s own panel of inquiry into the private rented sector will be looking into the whole issue of managing agents and the issues faced by leaseholders and tenants alike and to consider how the city council can influence future developments.

Meanwhile back at the LVT on New York Street, Granby’s main issues are why they have to pay large amounts for routine jobs such as light bulbs being changed when they have an on-site caretaker; why they have to pay towards lighting and insurance of the basement when it is run as a commercial car park by GNC and why GNC use City Response, a wholly owned subsidiary to carry out the repairs.

There is lots of other stuff about leaks and maintenance, so much evidence in fact that the Tribunal did not get through it all on the day and another date will now be set with an exchange of information and responses on-going via the tribunal to try and speed things along.

The resumed hearing should be sometime early May.

In the meantime here are my tips for anyone who has an LVT coming up.

1 - The panel is there to help you. The chair will have sat through many a tribunal, the valuer will understand the sums and the lay person will hopefully see through any waffle.

2 – Get your paperwork in order. Statements from leaseholders, e-mails detailing conversations, invoices and accounts, photographs. There were four bulging A4 files for Granby which is a lot of evidence and which the panel read before the hearing: “So we had a picture of the kind of issues troubling the residents..”

3  - Identify the main issues – and stick to them.  It’s easy to get side tracked but time is tight and the panel already know the general stuff so concentrate on the major headlines and have your proof and page numbers ready.

4 – Slim down your Scott Schedule. This is the document listing the grievances. Granby’s ran to 50 pages.  A succinct dirty dozen is easier for the panel to address.

5 – Practice your presentation. You will be invited to sum up your case and it’s your opportunity to express just why you felt it necessary to take your landlord to a Tribunal. Tug at the heart strings, vent your frustration, but don’t get personal.

 6 – Work as a team. Two people representing the leaseholders is best.  Work out which areas you each feel strongest about and back each other up with prompts or by finding evidence.

7 – Stay calm. You will be sat next to people who you feel have made your lives a misery for years but the Tribunal is an arena for questioning and expressing your views to the panel, not for a stand up row.

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousApril 8th 2014.

Great advise and speaking from experience it is a challenging but interesting task. Do not get put off by potential sollicitors or legal lingo, at the end of the day it is what it is, a dispute between two parties about the reasonableness of a service charge. There is still the petition that was set up for this: www.gopetition.com/…/gnc-service-charges.html…

James FordApril 9th 2014.

I used to work for a residential management company and I was amazed just how little people knew about what and why they were paying. Needless to say there is a lot of in-house practises between housing developers, management companies and maintenance companies. Residents have much more power than they think to either take the matter to a tribunal or to employ a new company to manage on their behalf

AnonymousApril 11th 2014.

I was at the leasehold valuation tribunal and it was a extraordinary day. The solicitor said only one or two residents dissatisfied despite so many on the tribunal and so much anger! For some reason others from GNC were able to talk but not residents who had points to make! Most like me gave up complaining years ago as does no good whatsoever and so the resilient few who persevered fought for all of us, for which we are all so grateful. So many games and blatant untruths told! The solicitor kept on making definitive statements that were not true but interjecting the word 'probably' as some hidden after thought!! So the windows that no longer close in many flats cost 50k but all windows that are old and decaying could of been replaced for the same price. As for the LVT discussing 'repairs', I think the question should of been has there ever been a successful lasting repair? So the sister company takes from one hand and puts back into the other for failing to fix things! As for the bannister coming away in the leasehold officers hands on the walkabout, such calamity would be funny in Faulty Towers and if we didn't live there! The walkabout showed the blu taked security wires on the fire doors and mould, leaks and rot that GNC said were 'two weeks old' despite photo evidence of two years! Hopefully the LVT will use their powers despite the thousands Guiness are paying in duplicitous legal representation and expect us to foot the bill for! That the solicitor promised she could represent and allay all concerns in one day proved to be as a laughable sham as the appalling situation that is supposedly called management. Clearly furious, the GNC staff rallied together in their appalling inability to aknowledge or apologise for the hurt, damage, exhaustion, waste, intimidation, rudeness and continued denial about their appalling management. I know someone who got ocd symptoms after their persistent leaks, yet GNC continued to try and blame the residents, despite the leaks and pipes being in communal areas too. Using our money for a profitable basement some bizarre insurances and claims were made in the meeting that could not be substantiated. Worringly the accounts seem more loike Enron and one naturally wonders how creative theyarea!!!! Cannot wait for right to manage away from these disgusting freeholders that have been a barrier to so much and loose these bullying fools at last!!! A beautiful building with so much potential yet none under the money grabbing mess that is GNC... Hope they are exposed and many buildings fight back!

AnonymousApril 14th 2014.

It is not clear what the case is about and what the issues are and the outcome sought. There is mention of Managing Agents, Service Charges, and RTM. Could someone tell us. It has always been my view that tenants and leaseholder what ever the issues require to form recognized Residents Association.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jill BurdettApril 14th 2014.

This was an update. Here's the link to the original story. www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Granby-House-and-15-Piccadilly-Trouble-With-Guinness-Trust…

AnonymousApril 28th 2014.

The applicants are awaiting confirmation of a new date for their next hearing and this will be posted here as soon as it is confirmed.

AnonymousMay 13th 2014.

The next (and hopefully final) LVT meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday 9th of July. Start time to be confirmed but likely to be 10 or 10:30 am. The address is:- Residential Property Tribunal First Floor First Floor 5 New York Street Piccadilly Manchester M1 4JB

AnonymousMay 23rd 2014.

The LVT meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday 9th of July, start time will be 10:30 am. The address is:- Residential Property Tribunal First Floor First Floor 5 New York Street Piccadilly Manchester M1 4JB

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

Just a reminder it’s the Granby House LVT hearing on Wednesday 9th July The meeting starts at 10:30am the address is:- Residential Property Tribunal First Floor First Floor 5 New York Street Piccadilly Manchester M1 4JB For anyone who struggles with their management company it is a good opportunity to see how this process works.

johnJuly 14th 2014.

Is there any update after the 9th July LVT meeting? This is an interesting story.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 14th 2014.

4 to 6 weeks wait for the outcome and very likely GNC will appeal, though how they'll challenge the documents and insurance paperwork their solicitors could not 'find' hopefully doesn't bode well for them but will waste more time I am sure. £280 to change a simple lightbulb when you have a paid 'house manager' beggars belief. As do the costs of repairs and 'decorations' that did not need to be done. I imagine a long time to get our money back even if positive outcome in 4 to 6 weeks as the games will likely continue. Time for Right To Manage and to sack these charlatans. I heard the 'eyerolls' of the panel at the LVT and how gobsmacked they were with GNC's poor evidence is hopeful for us!

Jack FrancisSeptember 29th 2014.

Has the LVT decision been issued ?

David BlythenOctober 3rd 2014.

In my experience Guinness Northern Counties must be the worst organisation I have ever encountered in my entire life. I have been a tenant of theirs since 1998, but they are so bad (Westfield Terrace Office, Sheffield), that I am now leaving them and looking elsewhere for somewhere to live. It would be interesting to know what the outcome of this LVT meeting was.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Martijn De RooOctober 16th 2014.

Hi David, Granby House won! Other GNC 'managed' have now also taken steps towards an LVT. www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Granby-House-Let-This-Be-A-Lesson-Guiness-Northern-Counties-Manchester…

Martijn De RooOctober 16th 2014.

'manages' properties

Martijn De RooOctober 16th 2014.

'managed' properties (sorry)

Jack FrancisOctober 15th 2014.

This site is pants ! I have just googled it and there seem to be two versions running simultaneously and neither provide any useful updates !!

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialOctober 15th 2014.

Here you go Jack - everything you need in this article published on 1 Oct 2014: www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Granby-House-Let-This-Be-A-Lesson-Guiness-Northern-Counties-Manchester… - Would have been best to use our search bar at the top.

AnonymousOctober 22nd 2014.

Guinness Northern Counties have (wisely) decided not to appeal against the Granby House LVT Decision! Granby House residents are well aware this does not change the current situation but at least we can finally close off the years 2007-2014 and in particular the last 18 months!

Jack FrancisNovember 17th 2014.

So what can the residents do now ? Right to manage ? Collective enfranchisement ? Interesting times ahead I guess...........

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