SERVICE CHARGE DISPUTES
Service charges are the charges made by a landlord to a tenant for services provided under the lease. Typical items included are the provision of insurance, power, water, sewerage, building maintenance, porter services and similar.
From the Landlord’s point of view service charges usually only form the basis of a problem if a tenant is failing to pay them and the claims are therefore usually quite straightforward. We regularly assist landlords in pursuing claims against defaulting tenants and can also advise on cost-effective litigation and recovery of judgment debts. We are also experienced in the more complex service charge disputes involving issues such as absent tenants and unlawful subletting, counterclaims for inadequate or non-completed services and other related defaults and breaches of lease.
From the Tenant’s perspective there is most commonly a problem with a service charge where the Landlord appears to be over-charging, or claiming for items not recoverable under the lease or for services not provided. We can assist with challenging service charges both by negotiation and through the courts or leasehold valuation tribunal. In some cases where an excessive service charge is not an isolated incident tenants may be interested in exercising a right to manage or acquiring the freehold. We can advise on the availability of these solutions and provide support throughout either process.
We act for landlords and tenants in service charge disputes relating to both commercial and residential property. We are happy to act for group litigants and can advise on participation agreements where appropriate.