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Service charge landlord disputes

Whether your landlord dispute relates to a commercial or residential property, George Ide LLP property specialists in Chichester can help you resolve the disagreement in your best possible interests.

Service charge disputes

Most service charge disputes are caused by a belief on the part of the tenant that the landlord is overcharging for services related to the maintenance and security of the property. However, it is also true that these disputes sometimes arise as a result of a cynical attempt to delay or avoid payment because of other, overriding financial concerns. They can also arise because of conflicting interests – for landlords the state of a building is a long-term concern, while for a tenant, the interests are likely to be more short-term, and it can sometimes be difficult to work out which party is trying to take advantage of the other.

Most commercial leases and some residential leases include provision for the tenant to contribute sums for the repair, maintenance, security, and general upkeep of a building and its common areas, whether it is an industrial estate, office block, shopping centre, or retail park.

However, the nature and structure of these service charge agreements can vary from lease to lease. Because of this lack of uniformity and clarity, unfair and disproportionate charges can sometimes be difficult to identify.

Sometimes agreements require a tenant to simply pay a proportion of the landlords charge. In others, the tenant will have to pay in advance to ensure that the landlord has a fund to draw on – this latter type of agreement is more complex and relies almost entirely on estimates which are calculated on the basis of the accounts of previous years.

Landlord dispute solicitors in Sussex

The landlord and tenants Act of 1985 gives statutory protection to tenants and ensures that they have recourse to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in cases where the service charge is disputed.

Whether you are a tenant looking to dispute what you perceive to be inflated service charges or are a landlord looking to recover service charge arrears, please contact the landlord dispute solicitors at George Ide LLP in Lion House, Chichester for further information.