Can a tenant request information and documentation to support the service charge demand?

In short the answer is yes and there are criminal sanctions for failing to comply.

Once a landlord or management company has demanded a service charge payment, the tenants have a statutory right to:

  • Ask for a summary of the service charge account from the landlord or management company;
  • Inspect accounts, receipts and other documents relating to the service charge summary and to take copies of them; and
  • To ask for a summary of insurance cover and to inspect the insurance policy documents.

A tenant can ask the landlord to provide a written summary of the costs incurred in the last accounting period, or if accounts are not made up for a 12 month period, the 12 months before the tenants’ request.

The landlord must comply with the request on the later of one month after the request or six months after the end of the accounting period.

The summary must be certified by a qualified accountant where service charge costs are payable by tenants of more than 4 dwellings.

The landlord is to provide the tenant with facilities to inspect and take copies of the accounts, receipts and other documents that support the summary.

Failure to comply is a criminal offence and the landlord can be fined up to a maximum of £2,500.

Our previous 2 blogs in this series talked about the importance of the terms of the lease and whether a demand for service charges is valid.

Read our next blog in this series next week to find out whether service charges have to be reasonable and what applications can be made to a Tribunal.

Residential Service Charges: Request Of Information And Documentation

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