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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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There I have purchased a flat and am in it since September

Customer Question

Hello there
I have purchased a flat and am in it since September 2012 on the ground floor of a blocks of 9 flats with a lift. There are 2 ground floor flats.
The lift has been out of order since the 28th of February 2015
I have never paid costs towards the lift in my service charge which I pay twice a year. Jan/July and July/Jan. as on my invoice I always paid what they asked but under lift it was always written zero.
Received a mail yesterday from the company whom I pay to
,stipulating :
"It has come to our attention that you have not been paying service charge cost for the lift and the BT line for the lift since 2012 etc and it comes as a total of £613.49
Checking your lease you do not have exclusion like flat 2 (the other ground floor) where their solicitor on time of purchase added that all costs regarding the lift should be excluded.
I do not have this on mine. They send me a copy of my neighbours lease. (Should not that be confidential between the free holder and tenant?)
So now they are also asking to pay on top the cost of the repairs for the lift which amount to £689 which makes it a considerable sum altogether
It came as a total surprise to me an someone reply to what I should do??
Veronique Fitzgerald ( a pretty upset tenant)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience For the avoidance of doubt from what you say do I understand correctly that you have never received any notice indicating you would be responsible for lift payments until the demand for payment you have just received please?Are you satisified that there is a provision in your lease enabling the landlord to collect monies for the lift maintenance?Is the landlord proposing to repair the lift?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Under invoice of service charge ( my tenant proportion beeing 17%)
It comes to roughly around £1200 twice a year but under the details
on invoice, it has always been zero ( which I thought made sense being on the ground floor
On the lease it says :
Service charge :
The tenant's proportion of the amount of service costs for each accounting period
Service costs :
The amount specified in part 2 of schedule 5
And on that it reads :
To pay interest on sums payable to the landlord under this lease that remain unpaid 14 days after they fall due and such interest shall be payable in respect of the period commencing seven days after the date on which the sum was due until the date of payment ( after any judgement as well as before).
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. s20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 provides that the landlord must request payment from a tenant of service charges within 18 months of incurring the costs. If the landlord serves an invoices later than 18 months of the date he incurred the costs he is seeking to recover he cannot legally recover those costs. Accordingly you may consider rejecting the claim for costs incurred more than 18 months ago which should bring the bill down considerably if it coes back to 2012. The demand for costs incurred within the last 18 months will be valid providing the invoice includes a summary of your legal statutory rights though if you believe those charges are unreasonable you have a right to challenge the landlord on the reasonableness of his charges and ask to see accounts and invoices which justify the charges. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But does it mean that I have no choice but pay for the repairs which amount to £689? And all future payment for lift on future service costs?
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
If your lease provides that you must pay for charges towards the lift then you will be liable for such charges going forward. However regarding any past charges, you are only legally obliged to pay any charges that are billed to you by the landlord within 18 months of the landlord incurring the charges. From what you say they are seeking to recover charges all the way back to 2012. If the landlord has never notified you of these charges before then you can legally refuse to pay charges which have been incurred by the landlord more than 18 months ago. You can ask the landlord to provide evidence of when the charges he is seeking to recover were incurred by giving you copies of relevant invoices so you can check the dates. If the charges are older than 18 months then on the above basis you do not have to pay them because the landlord has asked you for them too late. I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.