LANDLORDS: HOW TO WIN A LEASEHOLD SERVICE CHARGE DISPUTE
Service charge disputes between landlords and leaseholders are a common occurrence, especially with the huge rate and increase of leased and rented properties across the UK. Tenants often have misunderstandings of their service charge agreements and fight against the charges levied against them by landlords. Here are some quick-fire tips to winning a service charge dispute!
What is a service charge?
Service charges are charges levied by landlords to leaseholders for the general maintenance of properties and when critical or important maintenance costs incur for a property. The terms and conditions of service charges are laid out in the leasing contract between a landlord and occupant. These conditions should state clearly the conditions of when a leaseholder is responsible for payment of incurred service fees as well are pre-agreed annual charges. A lot of modern service fee agreements allow tenants to pay for service charges way in advance based on an estimated cost proposed by the landlord. Landlords cannot retrieve charges that were incurred over 18 months ago if the leaseholder is not notified.
Read the lease/contract
Make sure you thoroughly read the lease contract. Contracts are legally binding and are very important for supporting your case should you be in a dispute with your tenants. Your tenant may have no leg to stand on if the rules are set our clearly in the contract. By using evidence from the contract, you can put a stop to any dispute early on by displaying clear evidence of your rights and the leaseholders obligations.
Secondly, it is important to get yourself legal representation. You may have a good idea of what’s going on in your contract; however, experienced professionals who have dealt with hundreds of similar cases will have a far greater knowledge of the laws, legislations and common issues associated with service charges disputed. Due to their knowledge of the legal processes, they will typically have a quick turnover time when dealing with these issues. This means you can resolve any disputes quietly and quickly without putting yourself in financial danger.
Get in touch with the team at Westcolt Surveyors if you would like any more information.