Service charges & ground rent

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Services charges - what am I paying for?

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.

What can I do when my service charges are going up? 

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.

How we can help

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:

  • Listen to your concerns regarding service charges, ground rents and details of any other issues
  • Explain what your legal rights are
  • Talk you through the options for achieving the best and most cost-effective outcome for you
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Meet your experts
Adrian Schwab Sq Adrian Schwab Adrian is an expert in landlord and tenancy as well as consumer issues, travel and aviation, traffic law, civil litigation and neighbour disputes.
Catherine Hudson 360X360 Catherine Hudson Catherine is an expert in landlord and tenant law, having worked for a housing charity as a Caseworker for 15 years. See profile
Lawyer Profile Picture 360 360 Sophie Jones Sophie joined Which? in June 2015 specialising in landlord and tenancy as well as other areas. See profile
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