If you cannot join together to buy the freehold, the second best goal in my opinion is to exercise the right to manage. This may prove easier to achieve than trying the ‘blame route’ of applying to a tribunal to appoint a manager.
The Lease site has plenty of detail on the legal framework behind RTM. Please read that as I see no logic in duplicating the government sponsored information. I’m offering merely my opinion and experience.
Preparation is essential. Sadly, it is likely this will fall on one person. In my experience leaseholders want change, and may even leave their home to discuss change, but the verb “act” always applies to somebody else. You may be lucky.
Given the practicalities, based on my experience I would recommend first forming a tenants’ association, not with any hope that the landlord or agent will respect it, but for the benefit of organised communication and decision making and, most importantly, a joint signature bank account. You do not want to embark on any process involving other leaseholders without getting their money in the bank first. How much to estimate for an RTM action fund is a matter for your circumstances.
When researching for our claim, I downloaded a lot of tribunal decisions on disputed claims and RTM costs (the undisputed ones do not end up at tribunal). It pays to get to know the reality behind the theory.
A few hours on a forum such as the Long Leasehold Questions reveals the horrors that can befall leaseholder run companies, whether RMCs that hold the freehold, or RTM companies.
RTM companies seem to have the worst end of the £leasehold caper branding iron. The law on RTM is a mess in practice. But if you can’t get the freehold, what are you going to do?
The common theme behind all the misery is leaseholder apathy and, sorry to say, stupidity. People really cannot expect to exercise a right to manage their building without making some effort to learn their responsibilities to manage. It is not as if the average ‘professional’ managing agent understands the role, or such esoteric matters as book keeping, or how to understand a lease, or read a code of practice – they simply rely on the adage, ‘the blind can lead the unsighted’ and the fact that their trapped “customers” have to fund them out of any incompetence. Just keep billing under the lease.
I firmly believe success comes from preparation and organisation. And plenty of checklists!
When I was researching for RTM I found a great little text book on self management, which I think was recommended by LEASE at the time: “How to Manage Your Own Block of Flats: A Flat-owner’s Guide to Taking and Maintaining Control” by John Cumming and Richard Hickie. 2nd Ed 2004. Publisher: College of Estate Management.
I can’t see a new edition and sadly it may now be put of print. I bought my copy in 2008 for about £20. Worth every penny. Not that I could get any neighbours to buy a copy. They preferred to await interior inspiration. Never saw much evidence.
Here are my personal RTM checklists used when we went a-changing (we formed a constituted Tenants’ Association first):-