Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
may I ask on what basis the carpet was replaced please? Was it replaced because one of the lease holders did not like the colour or because the old carpet was showing its age?
The old carpet was showing it's age, however in my view did not need to be replaced immediately. What most concerns me is that the new carpet colour is not suitable for the building...
Thanks. May I ask why the colour is unsuitable? Who is the freeholder - it is a third party or is it a shared freehold owned between the three of you?
The old carpet was brown/red. The brickwork is brown, bannisters red, woodwork dark brown. The new carpet is blue.
The freeholder is a third party.
typically, a freeholders responsibility is to maintain the common parts of the building under a lease rather than improve the same as had the carpet been change simply because they lease holder did not like the colour, this would typically not satisfy a basis to demand money from you as contribution. However, from what you say, the old carpet may have been in need of replacement and on this basis, the replacement would seem to satisfy this particular test. There is therefore the second test as to whether the work that the landlord has carried out is of reasonable quality.
any work a landlord carries out for which he seeks to then claim contributions from leaseholders under service charge must be of reasonable quality. if it is not, leaseholders such as yourself as a basis to challenge liability to pay a particular service charge claim. normally of course such challenges would be brought on the basis of shoddy workmanship or poor quality materials which are generally more straight forward to demonstrate. The issue here though from what you say is not a complaint about the quality of workmanship but rather the appropriateness of the choice of material, specifically the colour. There is a potential difficulty in that choice of colour to some extent is subjective as to a large degree, choice of colouring is a matter of taste and opinion. Accordingly, my view would be in order to successfully challenge a liability to pay a contribution towards the replacement of the carpet, you would need to be able to demonstrate that the choice of material is wholly inappropriate for the building and accordingly is not of satisfactory quality.
Would you like to continue?
In particular as to how you can challenge a service charge demand?
If I can continue to assist you with the above please do come back to me.