Landlords are legally obliged to charge reasonable amounts of service charges for works of a reasonable standard.
Even though this is a legal right that the leaseholders have, it is risky to withhold payment because in the first instance, this is likely to be a breach of the lease terms. If it is deemed a breach of the lease, it will entitle the landlord to seek legal advice costs of which can be charged to the leaseholder who is allegedly in breach.
It may be better to contact your landlord and express your concerns about the charge and seek clarification about the increase in the first instance.
You can also use your legal rights to seek information.
You can try and resolve the situation amicably, perhaps through mediation.
If all of the above fails and you have evidence which you have obtained by the landlord to challenge the charges, an application to determine the reasonable amount of the service charge to be paid can be made at the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
You may require the services of a solicitor or a surveyor if you decide to challenge the charges.
More information you might find useful:
- Service Charges and other issues
- Resolutions for service charge disputes
- Application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)
- Find a Civil Mediation provider
- More Frequently Asked Questions on Service Charges
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