We found an article written by Karen Philips at DWF lawyers setting out some clear advice on how tenants can challenge landlords’ service charge demands for the forthcoming year.
She has some good suggestions:
- collaborate with other tenants
- check other sites and compare costs
- consult your landlord early about your dissatisfaction
- react quickly to the demand
- pay the part you have no issue with
- know your lease terms
- check the RICS Service Charge Code of practice
Here’s the article in full, thanks Karen for a timely reminder.
Over the weekend we read an interesting article in The Times in which asks the question
There is no evidence that the annual service charges on our flat have been audited. What are our rights?
The answer, by expert Mark Loveday, states correctly that there are no legal requirements to have audits.
Most properly presented annual service charge accounts are signed by a managing agent or an accountant to certify their accuracy.
He makes passing reference to this becoming a legal requirement in future. Naturally, we think that audited accounts are the best possible security for all parties, landlord, tenant and managing agent.
When this does become law, the need for a common format for presentation of the annual service charge statement for residential properties will necessitate changes for many sites.