Philips v Francis

The Court of Appeal has allowed (in part) the appeal in Philips v Francis.

It held: the “aggregating approach” (which required a landlord to consult the tenants on any service charge items, however small, once the £250 limit for contributions had been reached) is wrong. To apply that obligation to every item of maintenance and repair gave rise to serious practical and administrative problems and could not have been intended by Parliament.

Rather, the correct approach is to identify whether works are parts of a set of works. The question of what a single set of qualifying works comprised has to be determined in a common sense way, taking into account factors which are likely to include where the items of work are to be carried out, whether they are the subject of the same contract, whether they are to be done at the same time or different times, and whether they are different from or connected with each other.

This decision will be an enormous relief to landlords and managing agents.

Jonathan Upton 
Barrister, Tanfield Chambers