The Tenant Advisory Group can help you to resolve disputes over service charges. We can review service charge budgets and reconciliations and can even help you to recover over-payments going back several years.
TAG will identify whether items requested by your landlord are recoverable under the terms of your lease. We can also identify anomalies you may not be aware of. For example, a refurbishment of your building might have increased the total floor area. However, if your Landlord has not added the additional floorspace to his apportionment matrix, your service charge will be too high.
A legal firm that we represent could not understand why its service charge bill had suddenly been reduced slightly by its landlord. It asked us to take a look to see if we could explain what was going on.
Having obtained the detailed service charge accounts, we discovered that the landlord had spent significantly less than it had expected on a lift refurbishment. The tenants had already made a contribution towards the budgeted cost in the previous year’s service charge in anticipation of the expenditure.
Without explaining its actions to anyone, the landlord had decided to “drip-feed” the over-charged amount to the tenants over an extended period. Hence, the slight reduction in the quarterly service charge.
What the landlord did not want the tenants to be aware of was their legal entitlement to the over-charged amount “on-demand” (i.e. within 14 days). This entitlement had been established by a little known legal precedent.
Armed with the forensic analysis and the relevant case law, our service charge expert was able to secure a cheque from the landlord for £30,000 within two weeks of his instructions.
This is a great example of how valuable an expert can be and why service charges often merit closer examination.