There is actually no legal duty on a freeholder or management company to provide replies to enquiries (leasehold pack) unless there is an obligation to do so under the terms of the lease. In the absence of any such obligation in the terms of the lease, they are at liberty to do what they like regardless of whether the service charge is paid up-to-date or not.
The alleged service charge arrears and lack of replies to enquiries is going to hold your sale up and even though if you took the management company to the Tribunal it could take several months and you could win or lose depending on how the tribunal chairman sees your evidence and their evidence.
If the management company is aware that you are selling the property as they will do if you have asked for the replies to enquiries in the pack, they will hold this over you to pressure you into paying the money they are claiming.
What you might want to consider doing therefore is paying the amount they are claiming under duress in order to complete the sale and then taking them to Tribunal to recover the money on the basis that they are charging for services which have not been provided. On this latter point, the majority of leases list the services which the landlord can provide, but does not oblige the landlord to provide any or all of them. What the landlord cannot do is charge for services which are not provided. Hence, if in the service charge schedule it lists “cleaning stairs and weeding gardens” and they have never done any of that, they are not able to charge for it.
Until the issue is resolved, a buyer is most unlikely to proceed with the purchase unless they are so keen on the property they are not bothered about the sum of £1370 but even so, in that case, the solicitor will air was advised not to proceed.
The problem you have if your pending sale which puts pressure on you by the management company to resolve the issue.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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