Service charges

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  • #22690

    I would appreciate anyones views on the following:

    Claimant applied for HB in 2003. She is a lady with learning difficulties and does not deal with paperwork. Tenancy says rent is £405 pcm, with the clause that the tenant will indemnify the landlord against all assessments, charges, council tax, ground rent, water supply, sewerage charges, TV licence and other outgoings.

    Recently we had a request from the landlord to pay the service charges from 2003 which we were not aware of, nor were we made aware of until recently. These vary between £150 and £195 per year. We wrote and asked for a breakdown. The reply is the service charge is made up of ground rent, buildings insurance, fire alarm maintenance and contract, maintenance and repair, electricity, accountancy fees, management charges, and in one year another master key. What is included varies from year to year.

    I have several questions. Should we have included the service charges with the rent and then taken off an amount for the ineligible items?
    Can we go back to 2003 as we have only just been made aware of the charges by the landlord?

    Having checked Reg 12 and sch 1, most of the service charges are eligible, and don’t have to be included in the same agreement.

    I have not had one like this before – most of the claims we have where there is a service charge are actually included in the rent set out in the tenancy, not a completely separate figure.

    Can anyone throw any light on this for me please?


    Kevin D

    Back to basics….

    The crux is the agreement between the tenant and the L/L. What was the liablity stated in the agreement? The L/L cannot retrospectively increase the agreed liability, either directly or indirectly.

    If the argument is that there is a second agreement, I’d be demanding proof of the original docs. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if no such documents exist.

    If it turns out that the clmt has, genuinely, been liable for such charges all along, I’m struggling to see how you can go back (unless there is official error). But, you could supersede from the time it was brought to your attention (subject to the eligibility of the charges).



    The landlords are saying that the rent charge is £405 pcm and the service charge, including ground rent, is in addition to this, and is covered by the clause in the tenancy agreement as mentioned in my post. They have provided us with copies of invoices and letters which they sent to the tenant which have not been paid, and are now requesting us to pay them as there are now substanital arrears.

    Looking at the paperwork we have from the landlord (lots), I am going to go with your last paragraph about the genuine liability, and only pay from April this year when we first knew about these charges.


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