How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jamie-Law Your Own Question
Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3965
Experience:  Solicitor
96104960
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jamie-Law is online now

We received the following from our landlord" I write to

Resolved Question:

hi, We received the following from our landlord" I write to confirm that the balance omitted from the service charge account for Utilities amounts to £4,694.91 which has built up since April 2014. As agreed, my contact details appear below so that once you have had time to consider the situation you may contact me to discuss your proposal for settlement. As I indicated, due to the circumstances, I am open to a payment plan to settle this over a period of time and were you to take an alternative unit, it could be built into the service charges for that. I apologise for any upset this news has caused you and look forward to hearing from you."....
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK, Chislehrust Chislehurst
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: ?
Assistant: What confuses you?
Customer: Do we have to pay this service charge back dated to April 2014? If so they have made a massive error and that would come to an extra 115+ a month we would have had to pay and we would never had agreed to £350 service charges. If we do have to pay something, do we have to pay it all? Is there a cap to how far back they can claim this money? Can we request proof of all expenses and bills from the landlord and a copy of every bill since 2014 to prove that we have in fact overpaid? How do you suggest we deal with this?
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: We received the following from our landlord " I write to confirm that the balance omitted from the service charge account for Utilities amounts to £4,694.91 which has built up since April 2014. As agreed, my contact details appear below so that once you have had time to consider the situation you may contact me to discuss your proposal for settlement. As I indicated, due to the circumstances, I am open to a payment plan to settle this over a period of time and were you to take an alternative unit, it could be built into the service charges for that. I apologise for any upset this news has caused you and look forward to hearing from you.".... I am really surprised at this major oversight and feel this is a huge error made by our landlords asset managers and its going to have a major effect on myself and my business. We didn’t account for this extra costs and especially not an accumulation of 3-4 years worth. After our original agreement to the lease for the 5 years which included 1 years waived service charge we had agreed a rate of £250 per month which we were told was rounded up and in excess of what we would need to pay. I was always concerned about the extra costs so questioned it on several occasions. Not only this, but in May last year we were told "It is clear that the payment of £250.00 is in excess of what is needed each month, even with a contingency and factoring in the new supplies, I would suggest a new monthly amount of £200 will be sufficient to meet the monthly costs and anything unexpected, my colleague Claire will provide a new standing order mandate and email this over to you in a day or so.” So this is what we were told, what we agreed to pay and have paid regularly and on time since we have been here. We didn’t get regular statements, something that had only started recently, and we had assumed that they had accounted for everything we needed to pay. The statements we get are simple excel spreadsheets and i feel that this tells us nothing and in fact we should have access to all the bills, expenses and invoices since the date they requested an underpayment from. We had another reply fro the Landlord saying "thank you for your email the content of which is duly noted. Having reviewed the points that you have raised and considered the various factors leading us to this juncture, I would like to put some options to you for your further consideration. It is my understanding that you have been in communication and have met with Laura House regarding the possibility of taking a further tenancy subject to terms being agreed and this may present an opportunity for dealing with the subject at hand. As briefly discussed during our initial telephone conversation, I am of the opinion that a payment plan would be the best way forward and I am quite happy for you make instalment payments on a monthly pro rata basis on the outstanding amount for the remaining term of your existing lease until such time as you decide whether you will be taking a new lease. If you do take a new lease, I am, then willing to stop that plan and spread whatever the remaining balance is over the first year or two of the new term. However, if you do decide not to take a new term then the pro rata payment to the end of your existing lease will clear the outstanding amount. I look forward to hearing from you." I am unsure of the next steps, and if we legally have to pay and if there is a cap to how far back they can claim such money from...however I am certain that we have paid our rents and service charges as per our initial agreement. I am looking for some legal advice on how to deal with this and what our rights are and if we have to pay this or not? Our rent renewal comes up in December and were not ready to agree terms again until we settle this disupte. I look forward to hearing from you Thanks Ari
Submitted: 3 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

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

Do you accept the Landlord is entitled to charge for Utilities?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
we have been paying between 200-250 per month for this...howevrrt all we have got was a excel spreadsheet breakdown...which could be any thing. And the amount has been queried several times..even that they told us we were over paying...but its a big mistake on their behalf as it goes back to 2014.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

Are the figures correct?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Which figures? We have no real way of knowing if the amount they charge us is a fair make up of the utilities and service charges..all i know is that they have said that they have forgotten to include the water and electricity since 2014???
Are we in our right to ask for all the bills , expenses and receipts for everything that makes up our utilities since the date in question and not pay until we have this breakdown?
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Is there a cap on how far they can back date such claims also?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

Ok - you can ask for a breakdown.

But in contract he can go back 6 years under the Limitation Act 1980.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want, nor the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.

But you are entitled to a breakdown and to see copy bills to make sure its correct.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
How is the best way to approach this request with the landlord? How should i request all the papers...do i say i will pay after i see evidence that we have in fact underpaid and that we should pay this additional amount?As my lease is due to expire in december and they want us to renew..but this is put a bad taste in my mouth and i start to question their professionalism..Never the less, i dont really want to have to leave as this is expensive to move. Could i sk them for a discount on this or for them to contribute to this as it was a major mistake on their behalf which has not been planned for or accounted for?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

You can ask for documents to confirm that the figures are correct given the clearly large error.

So you can ask for this. You could ask for a discount but the Landlord does not have to provide this.

However because it is their error, you can ask for a payment plan and the sums to be paid back over a reasonable period.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
They have offered a payment plan which will be pro rate up until the end of our lease...which is this Dec...so its going to be a huge amount each month.
They also are offering to extend the repayments over the lease for the new lease should we take it on..however they have not told me the new rent rates yet , and i can't agree this until this dispute is settled.Not only this, but in May last year we were told
"It is clear that the payment of £250.00 is in excess of what is needed each month, even with a contingency and factoring in the new supplies, I would suggest a new monthly amount of £200 will be sufficient to meet the monthly costs and anything unexpected, my colleague Claire will provide a new standing order mandate and email this over to you in a day or so.”So this is what we were told, what we agreed to pay and have paid regularly and on time since we have been here. We didn’t get regular statements, something that had only started recently, and we had assumed that they had accounted for everything we needed to pay.The statements we get are simple excel spreadsheets and i feel that this tells us nothing and in fact we should have access to all the bills, expenses and invoices since the date they requested an underpayment from.If they agreed an amount with me of 200 -250 from the outset of the lease which i had agreed to..based on this error, i would have had to pay close to 350 per month. which i would not have agreed to...So...if they can't prove the amounts clearly with statements, receipts and invoice...then do i have to pay? do i only legally have to pay if there is proof of for such services and their costs?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

If they can't prove it you dont have to pay.

If they are Landlords they will need invoices etc for working out tax

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
they can't mark it up then? I only need to pay the price it costs them? as we have a shared office we pay 60% the others pay 40% and there are other tenants below...so how can we be sure we only pay for ours and not the other tenants?
What if the amounts come to more again once they have issued all the documents? Will we be liable for all these costs?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

They can't mark it up. They are not energy suppliers!
Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
OK, Thank you
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

All the best. If this answers your question could I invite you to rate my answer, 5 stars the happy face before you go today, otherwise the site doesn’t pay me for the time spent with you. Thanks in advance!

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Did you cast your eye over the attached lease or didn't need to?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 3 days ago.

I had a brief look for you.

Does that help?

Jamie-Law and 7 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
for sure i will rate you with 5 stars..thank you