Many leaseholders are paying service charges and ground rent to their management company or the freeholder without understanding where the money is going. Is it sitting in an account somewhere, or is it being spent on the property? If property works and maintenance are being carried out, are you getting value for money? Often the lease may not be clear, but leaseholders do have a legal right to understand how their service charge is being spent, and there are steps you can take to influence this as a leaseholder, especially if you believe there are works that need completing which the charge should cover.
Ground rents are usually fixed, but before management companies can make additional demands for service charges or repairs, there are a number of legal steps that must be complied with in addition to any conditions contained in the lease. You may feel that any special demand or increase in charges is excessive or unjustified. There can sometimes be disagreement as to whether the service charge should cover repairs to certain parts of the property, or whether such costs are the leaseholders’ responsibility to cover. Dealing with these challenges can be daunting when large sums of money are at stake.
If you have an issue relating to service charges or ground rent at your leasehold property, our expert lawyers can help you understand your options for challenging a one-off demand, an increase in the standing service charge, or any disagreement over what your money is being spent on. There are legal requirements which management companies and freeholders must comply with before entering into certain agreements funded by service charges, we will give you guidance on these requirements, as well as: