Mr Salehabady was a tenant of residential premises in St John’s Wood, London and was entitled to an extended lease. Unfortunately, the parties were unable to reach agreement on the terms of the extended lease.
Where terms remain in dispute, either party can apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine those matters which remain in dispute.
But there is a strict timeframe in which this kind of application needs to be made. Any application must be made within six months of the date when the counter notice is given.
The deadline for Mr Salehabady’s application for starting proceedings before the Tribunal was 21 April 2016. As a result, his solicitor posted the application and supporting documents by first class post on 18 April 2016.
Decision of the FTT
The FTT held that the application had been received outside the time limit and without evidence in the form a certificate of postage, that it had been received outside of the prescribed time limits.
The leaseholder appealed.
Decision of the Upper Tribunal
The Upper Tribunal accepted that an applicant must start proceedings before the Tribunal by sending or delivering to the Tribunal a notice of application (Section 26(1) of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993).
The application must be “made” before the end of the six-month period.
The application can only be “started” in two ways – “sending” or “delivering” a notice of application to the FTT. There is nothing in the rules which prescribes that the application is to be sent by recorded delivery or that any particular form of proof of posting is required.
The posting of a correctly addressed (and sufficiently stamped) notice of application to the FTT is sufficient to start the proceedings. The relevant date is the date of posting. This is so even if the application notice is delayed in the post or does not arrive, provided it is posted to the FTT, proceedings have been “started” for these purposes.
At Property Management Legal Services, we always recommend that good practice is to post any application to the Tribunal in good time. After all, these are deadlines and not targets……