Service charge issues
"The team is "a class act" and "commercial, responsive and reasonable fees"."
Chambers UK, 2014
Although service charge provisions in leases are no more than a means of enabling a landlord to recover its running costs from tenants, by their very nature they cause a direct conflict of interests between the parties.
Issues arise in relation to the scope of service charge provisions, the level of expenditure incurred by the landlord, and also when payment is not made on time or in full by a tenant.
Our Property Litigation team is experienced in providing advice to a variety of landlord clients, including investment landlords, property developers, financial institutions, local authorities, major retailers, leisure operators, receivers and property portfolio management companies.
Our team has experience in advising on all aspects of service charge recovery, including:
- In relation to commercial premises recovery from current tenants, and also from former tenants, including the service of notices pursuant to Section 17 of the Landlord and Tenant Covenants Act 1995 (and dealing with requests made thereafter, pursuant to the same Act, for the grant of an overriding lease).
- In relation to residential premises dealing with proceedings brought in the County Court and Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. We are able to provide an in-house advocacy service from our solicitor-advocate.
- Forfeiture, including the service of notices pursuant to Section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925 and subsequent possession proceedings where necessary.
- Enforcement methods including obtaining charging orders over property, orders for sale and claiming liens over property.
- We are experienced in dealing with complex service charge recovery scenarios, including a dispute which required us to issue more than 100 claims for the recovery of service charges claimed under the 'benefit and burden principle' from the freehold owners of bungalows for the use of common parts of a holiday village; the unresolved cases having recently come before the Court of Appeal