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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Having had no correspondence from the leaseholder of my property

Resolved Question:

Having had no correspondence from the leaseholder of my property in the 3 years and 11 months I have owned it, I have just today received a statement and demand for 4 years and 11months worth of ground rent service charges (from purchase to October 2015).
The ground rent is indisputable as its clearly defined in the lease. However the service charges include a buildings insurance cost that is 4X the average quotation I’m getting from online comparison sites.
Its obvious the lessor has not made any attempts to get a good deal on buildings insurance, but the fact that he has waited almost 4 years to give me the charges mens that I had no way of disputing these uncompetitive premiums until now.
The lessor is also demanding full payment within 28 days of receipt of the statement, (which is mentioned in my lease agreement) but seems unfair considering his negligence in only just issuing a statement that should have been done in December 2011.
So. Do I have any grounds for say
A: It’s unreasonable to expect payment within 28 days?
B: Disputing the excessive insurance charges from the past 4 years and the year to come?
Many Thanks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

All demands for service charges must be in writing and must contain the landlord's name and address. The service charge is not payable until this information is given.

Alex Watts :

The landlord must issue the demand within 18 months of his incurring the cost. If the demand is provided later than this, the landlord cannot recover the costs at all.

Alex Watts :

As for the ground rent the Landlord has 6 years to make this claim, so can go back to November 2008 but nothing older than that.

Alex Watts :

As you pay the service charge you have a right to:

Alex Watts :

  • ask for a summary showing how the charge is worked out and what it’s spent on

  • see any paperwork, like receipts, supporting the summary

Alex Watts :

It’s a criminal offence if your landlord won’t provide you with this information.

Alex Watts :

If you disagree with the charge or rent then you can take it to the Tribunal

Alex Watts :

For more information on that please see:

Alex Watts :

http://www.lease-advice.org/documents/Service_Charges.pdf

Alex Watts :

It is not unreasonable to demand payment within 28 days normally but given it is so long I would expect it payable within 2 months.

Alex Watts :

As for disputing charges etc, please see above

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Alex Watts :

Also please see:

Alex Watts :

https://www.gov.uk/leasehold-property/overview

Customer:

Hi Alex,

Customer:

Thanks very much for your timely answer.

Customer:

Can you just clarify or elaborate on your point: The landlord must issue the demand within 18 months of his incurring the cost. If the demand is provided later than this, the landlord cannot recover the costs at all.

Customer:

How would i verify / convey this to my landlord?

Alex Watts :

You would just write back and say thanks for the demand, it is out of time.

Alex Watts :

They should be provided every 12 months but no later than 18 months from the time the 'charge' was incurred

Alex Watts :

That is all you put - it is then for the Landlord to show it was in time

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

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