Landlords beware – Tribunals refuse to allow Service Charges
Two decisions in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) provide cautionary reminders to landlords about residential service charge requirements.
The first case concerned the consultation requirements under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. The UT held that a management company failed to comply with the requisite consultation requirements because the place and hours specified in the notice for inspection of the estimates were not reasonable, and the estimates were not available for inspection, free of charge, at that place and during those hours. This decision highlights that a landlord or management company needs to carefully consider what information must be given to tenants, and how this is to be made available.
In the second case, the UT held that the service charge demanded from a tenant under a residential lease had not become due as the demand did not comply with section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. This decision underlines the strict requirements of section 47. Landlords should check that their practice accords with its provisions, as failure to comply could delay collection and lead to disputes.
Contact us for further guidance on service charges, including when consultation is required, the penalties for failing to comply with consultation requirements and the time limits for making service charge demands.