What is service charge?
Service charge is a provision in a lease that requires the landlord to provide services to the property and the tenant to contribute to the cost of those services.
There will be a provision in the lease that will define what services are to be provided and often sets out the mechanics of how the service charge is calculated and paid.
Residential service charge provisions are governed by extensive legislation as well as the provisions of the lease.
For commercial properties, there is no statutory intervention, and it is it is governed by the terms of the lease.
Service charges can be fixed or variable in amount.
How do service charge disputes arise?
Service charge disputes often arise over the extent and scope of the services that are to be provided, the cost of the services and how the service charge is calculated.
Residential service charge disputes normally involve arguments surrounding whether the service charge demands are valid (whether they comply with the statutory legislation as well as the contractual lease provisions) or whether the service charge is reasonable in amount.
A tenant can ask the First Tier Property Tribunal to determine whether a service charge is reasonable.
What can I do if there is a service charge dispute?
If you have a dispute about your service charge, then you should seek legal advice straight away to ascertain what your options are.
Our service charge dispute solicitors have experience handling various service charge disputes.
We can advise on the best dispute resolution method, such as negotiation, or if necessary, tribunal proceedings.
Our property litigation lawyers assess each matter on its own facts and will outline all the options and advise you on the best course of action to effectively resolve your unique service charge dispute.
If you have any issues that you would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our professional Property Litigation team.
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