Charged £90 – Email not a guaranteed system to deliver notice?

by Readers Question

9:15 AM, 5th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Charged £90 – Email not a guaranteed system to deliver notice?

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Charged £90 – Email not a guaranteed system to deliver notice?

I recently received a £90 charge for late paying service charge for a leasehold property for which I never received the service charge demand/invoice, but the management company claimed they sent it by email (an email in their sent folder).

I have explained to them that email is not a guaranteed system to deliver notice, and confirmed that I never received such a demand and therefore would be impossible for me to pay without receiving their demand. I also explained that my junk folder doesn’t have it either as my junk folder is not even cleared and consists of all emails before their claimed date when they sent the email to me. However they are not very understanding and insisted that they had evidence they sent it.

What’s my legal positions on this? It seems ridiculous that if en email was not sent successfully, there is no way I could pay without the demand. Shouldn’t they be held responsible to prove that they delivered the notice/demand?

I’m quite concerned as I do own many leasehold properties and many of them send out service charge and ground rent demand/invoice by email, if by any reason email is missing, it’ll be such situation again and again, and they don’t seem wanting to believe their email wasn’t sent to me successfully.

Thanks

Mike



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:05 AM, 5th April 2018
About 8 months ago

I always try to see what I can find with the Leasehold Advisory Service first as they are The reference point normally, but I only cam up with this section so far >> https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/service-charges-other-issues/

Demands for service charges

Demands for service charges payable to the landlord must be in writing and must contain the landlord’s name and address. Failure to provide the landlord’s name and address on the demand means the service charge is not payable until this information is given. The name and address of the managing agent will not satisfy this requirement unless they are also the landlord. If the landlord’s address is outside England or Wales, the demand must contain an address in England or Wales at which notices may be served by the leaseholder.

This does NOT apply if the service charge is payable to a management company which is a party to the lease, rather than payable directly to the landlord. The demands must still be writing, but they do not need to contain the landlord’s name and address.

Normally the lease will provide for the service charge to be demanded in advance, but occasions will arise when the demands are issued after completion of the works or provision of the service. In these cases a statutory time limit applies: the landlord must issue the demand within 18 months of his incurring the cost. If the demand is issued later than this, the landlord cannot recover the costs at all, unless a notice is served during the 18 months stating that costs have been incurred and that the tenant will be required to contribute to them by payment of a service charge (section 20B Landlord & Tenant Act 1985).

Any service charge demand and reminder letter must be accompanied by a formal summary of rights and obligations whose content and form is prescribed by Parliament.

Mandy Thomson

14:50 PM, 5th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Hi Mike

A notice is only validly served by email or other electronic means if the recipient has given written permission first.

Also, as Neal has stated, if the demand isn't accompanied by the summary of rights and obligations in the prescribed format, you are not obliged to pay.

wanda wang

19:47 PM, 5th April 2018
About 8 months ago

If you have dispute with property management company regarding their service charge, where can you go about this ?

thanks
Wanda

George Harrison

8:56 AM, 7th April 2018
About 8 months ago

I'm in the same boat. The freeholders agent Simarc says they didn't receive my cheque for ground rent of £155.19 for 3 properties so have added an extra £210 fee for late payment. Who can I complain to as I believe Simarc are up to their old tricks of saying they didn't receive payment so they can charge excessive late payment fees

H B

11:10 AM, 7th April 2018
About 8 months ago

As others have noted, email is not considered a legally valid method of delivery unless it has been specifically agreed to.

George Harrison

12:07 PM, 7th April 2018
About 8 months ago

In my case they sent the invoice by post, but the cheque I sent back by post got lost

Badger

15:06 PM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by George Harrison at 07/04/2018 - 08:56
Presumably your cheque was not cashed?

I never send cheques these days and always insist on having bank details so that I can make the payment across the internet. This does cut out the nonsense about cheques being lost in the post.

However, given where you are, once you have stopped the cheque at the bank I would simply pay the original amount and let them whistle for the extra fee.

George Harrison

17:32 PM, 13th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 10/04/2018 - 15:06
Hi
Simarc wont give me their bank details so cant do bank transfer and they wont accept a cheque unless the late payment fee is included. They returned the last one


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