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Don’t be coerced into paying service charges…

Being a residential leaseholder, you are likely to be asked to pay service charges by your landlord on your regular basis. You may consider the service charges to be too high and you should be aware that when you receive a service charge bill from your landlord, you do not necessarily have to accept the charges levied. Service charges are charged so that you repay the landlord for their reasonable costs that they have properly incurred to provide services to your property.

What is reasonable is determined by the terms of your lease and the relevant law. The statutory requirements for service charges and related aspects in relation to residential properties are set out in The Landlord & Tenant Acts 1985 and 1987, and The Commonhold Leasehold (Reform) Act 2002 (as amended).

The requirements include:

  • The recoverability of service charges only if they have been reasonably incurred; s.19(1)
  • Only works or services performed to a reasonable standard can be charged; s.19(2)
  • Prior consultation is required in respect of certain costs before the landlord incur the cost; s.20
  • Costs incurred by a landlord must be charged within 18 months, or notified in that time; s.20B

The place to start for determining whether or not you have to pay the service charges levied by your landlord is in your lease. Once the terms of your lease have been established, the criteria set out above can be applied.


This article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice. It should not be acted or relied upon and legal advice should be sought before applying any of the information in this article to any facts or circumstances.

For more information, or to discuss any issues arising from this article, please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)20 8909 0400 or by email at info@millschody.com.

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