Service charges and other issues
A guide to service charges, administration charges, ground rent, recognised tenants associations and forfeiture.
Leaseholders have the right to get information about their service charge expenditure in two ways.
Firstly, the lease should be checked to see whether there is an obligation on the landlord to provide accounts at the end of the year. Such provisions are mostly found in modern leases but it is worth checking your lease in the first instance. If the lease has such a clause, then you can ask the landlord to comply and provide the information. If the landlord does not do so this could potentially be a breach of the lease by the landlord.
Secondly, the law gives leaseholders a right to request a summary of the service charge costs and to inspect receipts, accounts etc in relation to the last accounting year, or where accounts are not kept by accounting years, the past 12 months preceding the request.
However, under the law, you need to write to your landlord or managing agent and request a summary of the service charge costs. Once you do that, the summary should be provided within one month of your request (or within six months of the end of the accounting period whichever is the later) and should be certified by a qualified accountant if there are more than four flats in the building.
Within six months of receipt of the summary, you have the right ask the landlord to allow you to inspect receipts, accounts etc. as a follow-up to provide more detail on the summary and to provide facilities for them to be copied. Facilities for inspecting the documents should be provided within one month of your request and should be available for a period of two months.
You may have additional rights to information under the terms of your lease and other legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act.
Download a template for a leaseholder’s request for written summary of relevant costs incurred under section 21 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
Download a template for a leaseholder’s request for inspection of accounts, receipts etc. under section 22 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
More information you might find useful:
- Service Charges and other issues: Summary of service charges accounts
- Resolutions for service charge disputes
- More Frequently Asked Questions on Service Charges
- You can find out more information, about service charges on the LEASE Learn website – our e-learning platform.
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