They can only
charge you a late payment charge which is a genuine measure of the costs they
incur in chasing you for the money. They cannot charge or enforce one which is
seen as a penalty.
On the other side
of the coin, you cannot withhold service charge for the reasons that you have
been and therefore, you are liable to pay the late charges I am sorry to have
to tell you.
If they issue
proceedings against you for the service charge arrears, and counterclaim for
the cost of the damage to your bathroom/property.
Whilst you are
not able to withhold service charge because they haven't done something, and
your remedy is to sue them in respect of what they have not done, by the same
token, they are not allowed to refuse to do repairs because of non-payment of
At the moment,
you are at an impasse.
would be to pay all the service charge which is outstanding, apart from the
late payment charges although I will come to those in a minute. I would then
issue Small Claims Court proceedings against them in respect of the damage.
I will tell you
that even if you pay the outstanding service charge, they are likely to offset
the service charge payment against their late fees which they allege are owing
so your account will see the payment allocated against previous service charges
and previous late payment charges and therefore the current charges will be up
I'm sorry to have
to tell you that you will have handled this very badly and quite wrong.
The correct way
of dealing with this was to pay the service charge and sue for the repairs and
You will probably
find that in your lease, they are entitled to recover the costs of chasing and
suing you in respect of outstanding service charge and in this respect are
therefore even if the matter is Small Claims Court, if you lose, you will end
up paying legal costs but even if you win, you will not get them back
I appreciate that
the majority of this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but there is no
point in me misleading you
Does that answer
the question.? Can I assist any further?
I am happy to
follow up any individual point you make
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