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Case details

Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd and another (Respondents) v Williams and others (Appellants)

Case ID: 2021/0059

Case summary

Issue

This appeal concerns several flats in Southsea, which form part of a mixed–use commercial and residential block. The Appellants are the individual leaseholders of 38 flats in the building. The Respondent landlord owns the freehold. Each lease says that the tenant’s share of three types of service charge – insurance, building services and estate services costs – is a fixed percentage or ‘such part as the Landlord may otherwise reasonably determine’.

For some years, the Respondent has been demanding service charges in different proportions from those percentages stated in the leases. The Appellants challenged that practice. They argued that section 27A (6) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 meant that the clause allowing the Landlord to determine the service charge is void. The First–tier Tribunal (“FTT”) held that whilst section 27A stopped the landlord determining the service charge, the Tribunal retains the jurisdiction to determine a reasonable apportionment. The Upper Tribunal reversed that decision and held that section 27A (6) voided the relevant clauses in the leases and limited the landlord to the fixed percentages. The FTT could not, therefore, determine a reasonable apportionment. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and restored the decision of the FTT. The Appellants now appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2021] EWCA Civ 21

Parties

Appellant(s)

Philip John Williams and others

Respondent(s)

Aviva Investors Ground Rent GP Ltd, Aviva Investors Ground Rent Holdco Ltd

Appeal

Justices

Lord Reed, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lord Richards

Hearing start date

8 December 2022

Hearing finish date

8 December 2022