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The landlord is not maintaining or managing the building properly. Can I refuse to pay service charges?

There are only limited circumstances in which you can withhold payment of your service charges without breaching the terms of your lease. 

These are to do with the way the landlord has issued your service charge demand. You can withhold your service charge payment if: 

However, if the landlord makes the necessary corrections you are likely to need to pay and your right to withhold the charges is likely to be lost. 

Withholding payment for other reasons could put you at risk of facing a court claim, legal fees and even the forfeiture of your lease. 


If you are unhappy about your service charge or think that your landlord or managing agent may be breaching the terms of your lease – for example, by not following their obligations to carry out repairs – you should try to resolve the dispute with them first before taking legal action.  

Set out your concerns to them in writing. Keep a record of all your communications as they may be useful later if you need to apply to a court or tribunal. If you cannot reach a solution, mediation is also an option before legal action. 

Template letters 

More information you might find useful:

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LEASE is governed by a board, appointed as individuals by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.