Service charge payments: how can I check my managing agent is charging me the right amount for my leasehold flat?

Question: I believe our managing agent is overcharging all tenants in my building.

I have asked the agent to provide a breakdown of the finances but they’ve been very reluctant to do so. Do I have a right to see this information?

Answer: As a tenant under a residential lease you have a statutory right to seek from your landlord a summary of the service charges incurred in the previous accounting year, certified by a qualified accountant.

You also have a right to see receipts and documentation supporting the contents of the summary.

If your landlord refuses to volunteer a summary, you should serve them with a written request under s21 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985.

The landlord then has up to six months to provide a summary, depending on how their accounting system is set up; failure to comply is a criminal offence.

Where your landlord makes available facilities at which to inspect receipts and documents, these must be made available free of charge.

If the agent has underperformed over a period of time, you and your fellow leaseholders may wish to acquire the freehold interest from your landlord, form a “right to manage” company, or apply to the Tribunal to appoint a new manager.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

If you have a question for Piers King, email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE.

Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.

Piers King is a solicitor in the property department of Streathers Solicitors LLP.


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