Service Charge Arrears from previous owner?

Service Charge Arrears from previous owner?

16:40 PM, 12th October 2016, About 5 years ago 16

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Does anyone know whether unpaid service charges fall to a new owner? My solicitor says I should not have to pay the previous owners service charges because there was no way knowing these were outstanding.arrears

Whatever the reason I need to know whether I am on the hook, or whether I should resist demands for settlement.

Many thanks

Victor



Comments

by Victor Saumarez

15:13 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Thanks guys. Useful comments.

by Gary Nock

10:05 AM, 15th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Service charges are only valid if demanded within 18 months of incurring the cost. They have to be served in a certain way with a Summary of Rights and Obligations in not less than 10 font; otherwise not valid. You can appeal to the First Tier Tribunal for a determination. Used to be £50 but I think it's gone up to £125. It can be determined on a "paper submission". These Managing Agents are trying it on. Tell them you were not the leaseholder at the time the service charges were due and you will go to Tribunal. Check out the Lease.org page
http://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/service-charges-and-other-issues/

by David Price

10:40 AM, 15th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "15/10/2016 - 10:05":

By all means apply to the First Tier Tribunal, but be prepared for costs of anything up to £25k. The fee for application is the tip of the iceberg.
Garry you are correct in you statement that costs have to be claimed in a highly constrained manner but these costs are associated with the lease NOT not a particular owner. It is the new purchasers solicitor who must apply any apportionments of service charges and deduct any necessary finance from the proceeds of sale.
I deal with a challenge for my block of flats in the FTT nearly every year and the cost is disproportionate to the challenge for both parties but it is the leaseholders right to be stupid and challenge trivia.

by S.E. Landlord

11:33 AM, 15th October 2016, About 5 years ago

There is a strong possibility that the demands were correctly issued to the previous owner, if so and not paid then they will fall to the current owner.

I think I would seek to recover the cost from the solicitors as it appears they failed to check these were paid.

If I was considering taking it to the FTT I would pay and then seek a judgement.

There is the additional risk that if you do not pay these that they will ask your lender to pay them.

by Gary Nock

11:33 AM, 15th October 2016, About 5 years ago

David I have challenged service charges at FTT and never had to pay landlords costs except the application fee of £100 and the hearing fee of £200. Unlike RTM applications I have to say. I do find in many cases that if the leaseholder has a genuine case - and in this one I would say he has- then the Freeholder / Managing Agent does not want to go through all the hassle of gettting a FTT application prepared etc. I won one without going to FTT on the Summary of Rights 10 font argument rendering the service charge demand invalid with no penalty being able to be added. I do agree however that the solicitor appears to have been negligent in this case and they should be the first point of call. If they were professional and customer orientated they would deal with all this on the leaseholders behalf.

by Victor Saumarez

8:35 AM, 18th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Gary, I have told them many times I was not the leaseholder at the time and believe their demand was within the 18 months. However, I have not threatened them with the FTT. My challenge is going to be motivating my solicitors to doing something. If it was their responsibility, I need to demonstrate to them that I know that.


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