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I’ve recently bought a leasehold property. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to me purchasing the property?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for service charge arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. Your conveyancer should therefore ensure that service charge payments are up to date before you complete the purchase.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a retention).


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