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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10732
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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I live in an apartment in a development which is managed by

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I live in an apartment in a development which is managed by a property management company. I own the apartment and pay £67 per month to cover building and grounds maintenance etc. The management company have identified a problem with the apartment roofs which will cost each apartment owner £2,100, which they are demanding before an order for the works is placed with the contractor. Although we have been given due warning that this work was needed and were asked to pay several weeks ago, I will need to borrow the amount payable on a credit card and am reluctant to pay until absolutely necessary. I have received a letter from the management company today demanding payment by the 20th July, failing which they will take debt recovery action, which, they say, will incur an addition £350 in legal costs. Can I be pursued for a debt for work that hasn't been ordered yet, and which I didn't specifically request to be carried out?

Hi, thanks for your enquiry.

It is important to understand that the landlord’s power to levy a service charge and a leaseholder’s obligation to pay it are governed by the provisions of the lease. The lease is a contract between the leaseholder and the landlord and there is no obligation to pay anything other than what is provided for in the lease.

The lease may contain specific terms obliging the landlord to carry out certain works or provide certain services and, if a service charge is to be payable, the lease must contain a power for the landlord to recover the cost of those works or services from the leaseholder.

It can generally be assumed that a service charge will be payable and will cover the repair and maintenance of the fabric of the building (to include the roof) as well as cleaning, lighting and maintenance of common areas. On the basis that your Lease allows for the Management Company to request service charge in advance of the work taking place (95% of Leases will allow this provision) this amount is payable by you PROVIDED they have served you with the appropriate Section 20 Notice and consulted the residents concerning the proposed works.

As regards ***** ***** that legal costs may be payable if you do not pay

  • these must be referred to in the lease (ie there must be a clause in your Lease stating that they can claim costs for non payment of service charge or for any breach by you of any terms of the Lease- the majority of Leases will include this provision I am afraid). You should therefore check the wording of the lease and advice should be sought if necessary. I hope this answers your question and sets out the legal positon. If I have helped, please don't forget to rate my answer. Thanks Al

Hi Kath, if I have helped, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer. Kind Regards Al

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