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Edward Blakeney appears for successful nominee purchaser in enfranchisement appeal

Edward Blakeney acted for the successful Respondent nominee purchaser in Charles Hunt (Holdings) Ltd v 77-82 Bridle Close Freehold Ltd [2023] UKUT 32 (LC), an appeal concerning the appropriate premium payable on a collective enfranchisement claim.

At first instance the freeholder argued that the initial notice was invalid, or alternatively that the premium payable should be £138,000. The FTT found in favour of the nominee purchaser on both issues, holding that the initial notice was valid and the appropriate premium was £8,000.

The freeholder appealed the valuation issue on the basis that the FTT had misunderstood their evidence and decided the matter on a new point not put to their expert, and the nominee purchase crossed appealed various aspects of the valuation decision. The Upper Tribunal granted permission to appeal to both parties, and the appeal was conducted by way of a rehearing.

At the appeal hearing, the freeholder's case changed and they instead sought a premium of £141,000. The Upper Tribunal had to consider the amount payable for a roof space development opportunity (including the appropriate methodology and deductions for risk etc), whether the leases prohibited sub-letting, and if so whether there was any value in the potential ability to sell Deeds of Variation so as to permit sub-letting.

Although the nominee purchaser's expert was disinstructed for the appeal hearing, the Tribunal agreed with Edward that the evidence of the freeholder's expert was flawed in a number of respects. The Tribunal therefore held that there was only a token amount payable for the hope value of a roof space development opportunity, and whilst the leases did prohibit sub-letting there was no premium to be derived from possible Deeds of Variation. The total premium was therefore assessed at £16,288. 

The Upper Tribunal also issued a reminder to the FTT to ensure that proper procedure is followed (i.e. by allowing submissions) when it considers a new point after the hearing has concluded. Had it done so in this case, the appeal could have been avoided.

Edward was instructed by Kim Higgs at Bonallack & Bishop Solicitors.

A copy of the Judgment can be found below - 

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