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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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An invoice was properly issued by landlord for service charges

Customer Question

An invoice was properly issued by landlord for service charges 1st March 2013. It was paid in full directly through bank same day. 28th November 2013 a credit note and a new invoice for an additional 60% was issued. Is this legal?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 2 years ago.
tdlawyer :

Hi thanks for yorur question. My name is***** can assist with this.

tdlawyer :

Are you asking whether their rights are ended to render a new invoice for the "proper" amount, assuming they got the first invoice too low by mistake?

Customer:

There was no error in original invoice for ground rent, insurance, sewerage maintenance etc. It was properly calculated with RPI VAT and accompanied by Summary, however, landlord admitted financial difficulties and in November "discovered" the Further Service Charge had been miscalculated for twenty years! and withdrew the original invoice, increasing charge from about 2200 to just over 3000.

tdlawyer :

Okay. No, this isn't going to be legal for that kind of arrears.

tdlawyer :

They can only go back 12 years for a start, and if they've gone back 20 - that is 8 years too many.

tdlawyer :

And, if they got it wrong and the money should have been charged, then possibly, they can actually charge it now in theory.

tdlawyer :

But if there was no miscalculation, and the money is just to help the landlord with his cash-flow issues, then no, I dont believe it would be due.

tdlawyer :

What you can do is make an application to the Property Tribunal and ask them to determine whether it is a reasonable charge or not and whether it's enforceable.

Customer:

They only went back to March 2013, they claim the previous owner miscaluclated the further service charge portion of the service charge and they, the new owners since a buy out in August 2012 are now correctly charging. Some other owners of the holiday lodges have tried in vain to get landlord to arbitration as allowed in lease, landlord simply refuses.

tdlawyer :

If there was a miscalculation, then they could potentially do this, yes.

tdlawyer :

If the lease allows arbitration, then they usually have to go to it if required. Or, you might just be able to go to the Tribunal instead, which is often better anyway that arbitration.

tdlawyer :

There is a little information on the time periods for older miscalculated claims etc., here: http://www.slcsolicitors.com/guide-view.php?guide_id=43

Customer:

Okay, thanks Tony. A Tribunal has to decide whether the calculation is correct. If incorrect, landlord cannot increase the invoice. They have now done the same with the electricity charge which they have increased and backdated to December 2013, presumably that is also allowed.

tdlawyer :

Yes, I expect it would be allowed if the first calculation was wrong.

Customer:

We will look up the reference and decide what to do as a group. Many thanks. Night Night.

tdlawyer :

Thanks! Goodnight.

tdlawyer :

Please remember to rate the service for me before leaving - thanks again! :)

Customer:

Christine

tdlawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I'm so pleased to receive your email, we have just been reminded by our landlord (holiday park manager) that our service charges are "fixed" and as such a Tribunal cannot deal with the complaint. They will not go to arbitration. What if anything can be done? Is the Landlord and Tenant Act still no use to holiday park property owners?