FTT rules there was no need for consultation in an emergency

An application was made by Little Kelham CIC to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) under Section 20ZA of Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

(the Act) for dispensation from the consultation requirements of section 20 of the Act and the Service Charges (Consultation Requirements) (England) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/1987) in respect of works to the power supply and cables at the property.The respondents in the case were the individual residential leaseholders of the apartments.

The property was a purpose-built block comprising six two-bedroomed apartments. The applicant stated that the work related to the “supply and installation of 95mm 4 core SWA cable, 135 meters in length”. Because of urgency, consultation had not taken place: all six apartments were without electricity, save for the hire of a generator at a weekly cost in excess of £1,400 and the inconvenience of noise and pollution.

Section 20ZA(1) of the Act states: "Where an application is made to a Tribunal for a determination to dispense with all or any of the consultation requirements in relation to any qualifying works…the tribunal may make the determination if satisfied that it is reasonable to dispense with the requirements."

The FTT concluded that circumstances had arisen in which it was necessary to restore the electricity supply as soon as possible as the alternative temporary generation arrangements involved significant expense and inconvenience. Although formal consultation had not taken place, the FTT was satisfied that it was impracticable to do so as it would have incurred unacceptable delay. It concluded that it was reasonable to dispense with the consultation requirements.