Q&As

A is purchasing a freehold property which is subject to a long residential lease of the first floor. A will occupy the ground floor, which currently has no lease. The first floor lease is fairly old and basic, and simply provides that the tenant is to pay a 50% contribution to the Landlord's insurance and structural maintenance costs throughout the term of the lease. Would there be any recovery issues for my client? Presumably this would still be classed as a service charge, and the s 20 procedures would need to be abided by and so on?

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Produced in partnership with Morayo Fagborun Bennet of Hardwicke Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 25/11/2015

The following Property Disputes Q&A Produced in partnership with Morayo Fagborun Bennet of Hardwicke Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A is purchasing a freehold property which is subject to a long residential lease of the first floor. A will occupy the ground floor, which currently has no lease. The first floor lease is fairly old and basic, and simply provides that the tenant is to pay a 50% contribution to the Landlord's insurance and structural maintenance costs throughout the term of the lease. Would there be any recovery issues for my client? Presumably this would still be classed as a service charge, and the s 20 procedures would need to be abided by and so on?

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, s 18 (LTA 1985) defines a service charge as 'an amount payable by a tenant of a [dwelling] as part of or in addition to the rent—

  1. which is payable, directly or indirectly, for services, repairs, maintenance, improvements or insurance or the landlord's costs of management, and

  2. the whole or part of which varies or may vary according to the relevant costs.'

LTA 1985, s 30 provides that a landlord means any person who has the right to enforce a service charge and so may include another tenant.

Provided that the 50% contribution paid by the tenant of the first floor flat is variable, rather than fixed, then it will be a variable service charge within LTA 1985, s 18.

A, as a landlord, will be able to recover no more than is 'reasonable' by way of service charge from the tenant of the first floor flat (LTA 1985, s 19). The costs must be reasonably incurred and the services or works must of a

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