Victory! Brixton Hill Court residents win ‘Right to Manage’ after long and costly legal struggle

Brixton Hill Court residents celebrate  'Right to Manage' victory
Brixton Hill Court residents celebrate ‘Right to Manage’ victory – photo by BHC RTM

An organised group of Brixton residents have won the right to manage their iconic block of flats after an ‘exhausting’ three year battle with lawyers.

On Sunday (November 2) the victorious residents cut a specially baked ‘victory cake’ at Brixton Hill Court, prepared by catering tutor Frank Innes from Lambeth college who is also fighting to protect tutors rights and facilities in Lambeth in a coming together of Brixton Hill communities.

Residents of the elegant 1930s block had previously submitted an application that was frustrated by legal costs that were projected at £42,000, subsequently reduced to around £25,000.

The victory cake, baked by Dolores Massaro of Lambeth College, Vauxhall Centre - photo by BHC RTM
The victory cake, baked by Dolores Massaro of Lambeth College, Vauxhall Centre – photo by Dan Saul

Co-director of the residents’ group Angela Saul accused the first Tribunal of “base tactics”, and said “even though demanding such a huge sum was a blatant attempt to intimidate through legal costs, the panel approved costs of more than £18,000 for one hearing alone.

“There is nothing more venal than people making money out of other people’s misery” said Saul, 78.

Streatham MP Chuka Ummuna pledged support earlier this year and said: “Delighted for everyone at BHC!”

Sir Peter Bottomley MP also supported the Brixton Hill Court residents, saying the “73 leaseholders defeat faceless freeholder and unethical barristers in their 3 year legal battle to win their statuary right to self manage their block.”

Springquote estate agents, owners of the block’s freehold, do not have contact details online. The Brixton Blog contacted their law firm, Tanfield Chambers, but they are yet to respond to our request for comment.

The Right to Manage allows leaseholders to take over certain management responsibilities from the landlord without having to prove bad management but often used as a result. Leaseholders set up a company to which management responsibilities are transferred by the landlord, without affecting the freehold of the property.

Bottomley’s speech supports the views of many affected by controversial housing debates across London, notably the recent E15 mothers’ campaign for housing justice and the Guinness Trust property redevelopment in Brixton. Prompted by the Brixton campaign, Bottomley said: “It is time to clean up the sector and to allow leaseholders to enjoy their homes without being charged and overcharged for costs.”

“Obtaining right to manage should not be as difficult as this and it has cost us all thousands of pounds to achieve” said Saul. “I am happy to be able to tell you that the period for appeal has now passed and we have the Right to Manage.”

Cake and victory - photo by BHC RTM
Dough well earned – residents celebrate  – photo by BHC RTM


  1. Each MP can join in encouraging action by those who have power.
    The Property Tribunals, led by Siobhan McGrath, and the County Courts should be clear that while being fair to all they halt the tricksy expensive tactics by experienced lawyers that deter, exhaust and penalise leaseholders trying to use the rights granted by Parliament.
    Ministers at Communities and Local Government, together with the Department of Justice, have to rebalance the system so it hears the interests of freeholders without giving them the ability to put excessive costs of fighting leaseholders back on to those leaseholders, win or lose.
    The Competition and Markets Authority can rule unlawful the unfair terms in keasehold agreements.
    Managing Agents should lose professional recognition if they do not disclose insurance commissions in full to the leaseholders who pay the costs.
    Above all, freeholders need to realise that value of any freehold should be based on the ground rents, not the present possible other income that should not extracted from leaseholders.
    The charity Leasehold Knowledge Partnership has done most to help leaseholders. We should thank Martin Boyd and Sebastian O’Kelly for their practical dedication to promote justice and to confront abuse and incompetence.

  2. Be good to know what Chukka Ummuna and Peter Bottomley are doing about reforming the leashold laws.

    We gained right manage and have I’ve recently managed to extend my lease, but I had to extend mortgage borrowing considerably to be able to afford this. I know people that simply can’t afford to do this and every year the cost spirals. And of course you have to pay the freeholder’s legal fees.

    All the odds and cost are stacked against the tenants and owners – legislation that benefits nobody except the multi-property landlords who just rake in more cash, many of whom won’t lift a finger to fulfil their obligations.

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