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Primeview Developments Limited v. Ahmed and others [2017] UKUT 57 (LC): Order for Costs Under Rule 13 and S20c

The FTT had made Orders for costs under Rule 13 and also under Section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.  The tribunal in making the costs orders had however determined that a refusal to mediate was not of itself on these facts unreasonable behaviour or relevant to the order under Section 20C.

The Upper Tribunal determined that Primeviews conduct in bringing the application was not unreasonable.  Certain pre-action conduct had been complained of but that was not something to be taken into account.  As to the refusal to mediate the FTT was entitled as it did that this was not unreasonable conduct or relevant ion this particular case to the making of a Section 20C application on the particular facts.

The Upper tribunal also allowed the appeal in respect of the Section 20C order and determined that 40% of Primeviews costs were not recoverable under the service charge.  At first instance the Tribunal had limited the percentage payable by each Respondent.  The Upper tribunal was satisfied that this approach was not just and equitable and should have approached the application by considering each parties degree of overall success.

What is clear is that Rule 13 costs will only be awarded in the most serious of cases and the conduct complained of must be part of the actual proceedings themselves.  Further whilst the upper tribunal will be slow to interfere in respect of Orders under Section 20c essentially the Tribunal should apply a broad logic to any determination it makes.

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