Experts in handling service charge disputes
Service charges in property leases are charges levied by the landlord to the tenant for the provision of certain services outlined in the lease agreement. Common examples of service charges can include:
- Building repair, maintenance and improvement costs
- The upkeep and management of the “estate” and/or “communal areas”
- Insurance liabilities
- In some leases, the supply of utilities such as gas, electricity and water
The service charges can go up or down during the duration of the lease. They are controlled by the landlord who usually has the expenditure certified by their accountant. In many cases, this certification is strong documentary evidence that the charges being passed on to the tenant are “reasonable”.
Disagreements concerning service charges
Problems between a landlord and tenant can often arise when the tenant does not agree with an increase to their associated services charges, or due to the fact that they are unable to afford them.
The tenant may also argue that certain charges for repairs or improvements are being carried out unnecessarily and are not essential, or that the work being done isn’t to a good standard.
Furthermore, arguments often arise in respect of communal areas or plant/machinery (lifts and escalators being the classic examples), where the tenant will often seek to argue that such plant/machinery does not benefit them and so they ought not to pay.
In any of these instances, if you are a landlord and are experiencing these issues with a tenant then it is vital to seek legal advice and expertise as soon as possible to know where you stand.
How we can help with service charge disputes
At Nelsons, our property dispute solicitors can provide assistance with service charge disputes for landlords. We have a proven track record of getting the best possible outcome for our clients in these type of disputes.
Arguments regarding service charge costs can often be time consuming, expensive and cause a great deal of stress. But they don’t need to be. Our team manages the risks for our clients, anticipating potential hurdles and try to resolve each service charge dispute in the most time and cost efficient manner.
The team will always consider forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as mediation, in an attempt to stop a case going to Court. But if it does, our teams’ strategic expertise counts for everything.
Our expert team is recommended by the independently-researched Legal 500 as one of the top teams of specialists in the country.
If you are landlord involved in a service charge disagreement with a tenant, please contact a member of our team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online enquiry form.
"Nelsons...has a well-established reputation in property litigation, as is reflected by its ability to consistently win new work from regional and national clients. Its practice has gone from strength to strength under the leadership of team head Simon Waterfield, whose sole specialism is in property disputes; there has been a notable increase in work from developers. Boundary and easement disputes are among the drivers of activity for the firm, which also sees a strong flow of commercial landlord and tenant matters, such as contentious lease renewals, forfeiture disputes and dilapidations cases. Traveller eviction cases are another notable area of activity."Legal 500
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