Service charge disputes are one of the main types of disagreements which commonly occur between landlords and tenants. The charge itself allows landlords to recover the costs they incur when providing a particular service – such as general maintenance, repairs or insurance – to the property. By law, landlords should present the service charge under the terms of the lease. Our residential property dispute solicitors have acted for a number of leaseholders and tenants in disputes regarding service charges across Essex, London and further afield.
The types of service charge disputes that can arise include:
How and when service charges can be levied
Calculation of the service charge account
A leaseholder’s right to ask for clarification of the actual and anticipated service charges
Challenging the services charges before the First Tier Tribunal (property)
The landlord’s obligation to consult the leaseholders before carrying out qualifying works, and to obtain reasonable quotes for the works
The statutory steps that a landlord must take in relation to service charge demands
In simple terms, most residential leases require a landlord to carry out certain repairs to the property and arrange for the maintenance of its exterior. In exchange, the landlord is entitled to levy a charge to the leaseholder for these repairs.
The lease document should set out which repairs can be charged back to the leaseholder together with any payment terms that are required. If there are several leaseholders in a building, it is likely that you will be required to pay a fair proportion/percentage of the reasonable charges.
Our team of residential property litigation solicitors are able to guide you through your service charge documents and lease in simple terms and provide you with clear options that allow you to make informed decisions. We advise both landlords and tenants and can offer fixed fees and excellent value for money.
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