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If an application is made to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) can a landlord recover their legal costs through the service charge?

You should refer to the terms of your lease to establish whether legal costs can be recovered through the service charge from all the lessees. If legal costs are recoverable as a service charge under the lease, you can make an application to the LVT under Section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requesting an order that the landlord should not be allowed to recover such costs.

In some cases a lease also allows the recovery of legal costs from an individual leaseholder. For example, when the costs incurred result from a failure to pay the service charge. In those circumstances the charges sought are technically classed as an Administration Charge. They must be reasonable, amongst other things, in order to be payable; but if they are reasonable and payable they are recouped from an individual leaseholder. This is unlike costs recouped as a service charge which are paid on an apportioned basis by all leaseholders. It follows that the lease should be reviewed to establish if there is an obligation on a leaseholder to pay an Administration Charge.

You may require the services of a solicitor.


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