Leasehold and Service Charge Disputes
Disputes about leaseholds and service charges can be frustrating and confusing if you aren’t sure what your landlord is entitled to charge. Most disputes do not need to go to a tribunal to reach a resolution, but this is an option. Once both parties are aware of their rights and obligations, an agreement is more likely.
Some common types of leasehold dispute include:
Appointment of a manager
Right to manage
Breach of lease
Extending the lease
Varying of lease
Recognition of a tenants’ association
Buying the freehold
If there is a dispute about a lease, we firstly recommend negotiation to see if an agreement can be reached. If this is unsuccessful, the next option is mediation. Mediation involves an independent mediator (separate from the Courts) adjudicating a meeting where both parties try to come to an agreement. If mediation is unsuccessful, you can apply to the First-Tier (Property) Tribunal.
Service Charge Disputes
Information about service charges will be contained in your lease – it will state what can be charged for. Your landlord must provide you with a summary of the service charge, what it is spent on and any paperwork supporting the summary (for example, receipts). Building insurance will likely be included in your service charge. You can contest the service charge if you think it is unreasonable. Ground rent can only be charged if the landlord issues a formal, written demand for it.
You have the right to be consulted about charges of more than £250 per year or £100 per year for work and services lasting more than a year. The landlord must follow the ‘section 20’ consulting procedure. If the requisite consultation is not carried out, the landlord is unlikely to be able to charge extra.
If you disagree with a charge, mediation and applying to a tribunal are both possible.
If you are unhappy with the management of your building, you can apply to a tribunal to have a new manager appointed, or you can exercise your ‘right to manage’. If you apply to a tribunal you will have to prove the current manager is incompetent, whereas if you exercise the right to manage you do not need to prove this.
How We Can Help
If you are in a dispute about a leasehold or service charge we can advise you of your rights and assist you in the dispute resolution process, whether that is negotiation, mediation or applying to a tribunal.
To talk to us about leasehold and service charge disputes, please call our Bayswater office on freephone 0800 524 4709 to make an appointment or fill in our contact form.
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