The following Property Disputes practice note Produced in partnership with Victoria Jones provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
This Practice Note explains the procedure for handling some of the most common residential service charge disputes under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985).
For general guidance on the statutory consultation process for qualifying works and qualifying long term agreements, including potential disputes which can arise from that process, see Practice Note: Residential—statutory consultation procedure for service charges.
An overriding principle in relation to the recovery of service charges is that a landlord is not obliged to provide any service that is not expressly set out in the lease. Nor is a landlord entitled to levy a service charge, nor a leaseholder obliged to pay for anything, that is not covered in the lease.
In the case of residential properties, a service charge must be reasonable, to the extent that it must be reasonably incurred (but not necessarily reasonable in amount) and that the works or services must be of a reasonable standard.
Hence, a landlord is entitled to be reimbursed for his expenditure on the maintenance, repair and upkeep of the building and he is not usually bound to minimise his costs, but he is not permitted to make a profit.
In Waaler, it was held that where a landlord has a choice between different methods of dealing with a problem, such as whether to
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