Tenants not liable for Property Improvements

Following a recent decision in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), landlords will have to show that they have considered both alternative approaches and the financial impact on tenants of improvements before trying to reclaim the costs through increased service charge bills.

The Tribunal held that, when considering whether service charge costs for improvements (as distinct from repairs) are reasonable, the landlord must show that it has considered the availability of an alternative and less expensive remedy, and the views and the financial means of the tenants who will be required to pay for the works through their service charges.

Whilst disputes will inevitably arise as to whether a landlord has properly considered the alternatives to increasing the service charges, tenants will be delighted by this result as the burden of proof starts to tip in their favour. Should you find yourself faced with increased service charges, do get in touch for a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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