July 19, 2024

‘Legal torture’ Oakland Court residents settle for £68,500 … but two of the original applicants have since died

Oakland Court pensioners have settled their case, which was raised in the Commons as example of landlords’ lawyers using every stratagem to prevent leaseholders having their case heard

Residents at the Oakland Court retirement development in Worthing today accepted a £68,500 settlement of their dispute with their landlord over the notional rent of the house warden’s flat.

Sadly, two of the original applicants have died and three have moved to full-time nursing care since the application to the LVT was made in April 2011.

The £68,500 amount equates to one-half of the £137,000 referred to in the decision of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in May, which was the total payment for the warden’s flat dating back to the Eighties.

The payment has been made by the landlords, the Oakland Pension Fund, whose lawyers’ stratagems to delay the case were described as “legal torture” by local MP Sir Peter Bottomley in the House of Commons.

The landlord employed as solicitors Laceys, of Bournemouth, who descibe themselves as “honorary solicitors” of ARMA, and barrister Justin Bates.

The £68,500 amounts to almost 12 years’ notional rent in respect of the warden’s flat for which leaseholders were confident of obtaining judgement had they had to go to court to enforce the LVT’s decision.

The residents’ association says the settlement of £68,500 is best viewed as representing more than full repayment of all sums erroneously charged to present leaseholders and has 100 per cent  support among them.

One of the alternatives to settling would have been to go the county court for the full £137,000, much of which would have been paid by former residents who have been dead for many years.

Full details of this case and the political furore that it caused can be found on this site.



  1. I thought naively that we were supposed to look after our retired gentlefolk not continued to hound them for monies, etc–many thanks for Mr. Bottomley, who has stepped into the debate! Is Mr. Bottomley the only MP who cares? I have written to my MP Mr. Gibb to ask if he’s behind reform. or not but I don’t get an answer.

  2. I think it’s a great pity that the leaseholders didn’t take this further. Standard procedure when you have overcharged is to return the money to the service charge account. The money was not the landlords.