In February 1984 Mr Ian Gow, the then Minister of Housing and Construction, established a Committee of Inquiry on the management of privately owned blocks of flats, under the chairmanship of the distinguished barrister Edward Nugee QC. The committee's report was published in the summer of 1985 and many of its recommendations are now set to become law. The proposed legislative changes will have major implications for both landlords and tenants of blocks of flats. The Nugee Report was the culmination of a series of papers in the past few years reflecting an increasing concern over the state of many blocks of flats. Recent publications on the subject include the James Report, produced by a working party established by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and a paper emanating from the Building Societies Association entitled ‘Leasehold — Time for Change’ which urged the adoption of a system of strata title for properties in multiple occupation. No one should underestimate the difficulties which the Committee of Inquiry faced. ‘Bad flat management’ covers a multitude of different situations which can be viewed from numerous different perspectives. Disputes are not just confined to those between landlord and tenant. There are conflicts between the tenants themselves, particularly in older blocks built to be rented but broken up by the grant of long leases. Add to this the further complication that many blocks are now run by managing agents who may themselves be involved in battles with either the landlord or his tenants, and it will rapidly become clear that there were no simple solutions to be found. Each recommendation had to take account of all the potential problems and not simply tackle one at the expense of exacerbating another.
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