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Interim Service Charge Demands

1st March 2017 by Mark Timberlake

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Most leases require a sum to be paid on account of service charges for costs that will be incurred in the future. These are commonly called ‘interim demands’.

Unless the lease specifies that the amount is fixed in a particular sum, the amount that can be demanded is limited by section 19 (2) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to …”no greater amount than is reasonable…and after the relevant costs have been incurred any necessary adjustment shall be made by repayment, reduction or subsequent charges or otherwise.”

There have been two recent Upper Tribunal cases which have clarified how this cap works.

In the case of Dollis v Vezdani it was made clear that the cap of £250 from any individual flat owner that applies if there has been a failure to follow the consultation requirements does not apply to an interim demand.  However failure to comply with the consultation requirements is one of the factors to be taken into account as to whether the interim demand is reasonable.

In Knapper v Francis it was decided that when the Tribunal came to look at this it should only take into account circumstances that existed at the time of the demand and should disregard matters which became known only after that date.  A sum that was reasonable at the time of the demand did not retrospectively become an unreasonable sum once it became clear that the anticipated expenditure could be avoided.

For further advice in relation to recovery of service charges, please contact:

Mark Timberlake: m.timberlake@laceyssolicitors.co.uk or 01202 755200

 

Mark Timberlake

Managing Partner — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 755200

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  • “The advice Mark gave was very good value for money and the combination of strictly accurate legal advice and common sense were exactly what I needed.”

    Nick Stocks. Director, Spitfire Court Properties Ltd.

  • “Mark Timberlake is an exceptional solicitor. He has a huge depth of knowledge in his speciality and looks after his clients in a very kind and patient manner. Mark is unfailingly courteous and always a pleasure to deal with. I am always confident in any matter that Mark has dealt with.”

    Jane Balmforth

  • “We have had many years of top class professional advice and assistance in many respects of our property ownership. However great our worries initially, matters have been dealt with in a most professional manner and to our satisfaction.”

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Mark qualified as a solicitor in 1989 and since then has specialised in property and landlord and tenant disputes, possession and debt recovery in relation to both commercial and residential property. He has extensive experience in relation to issues involving blocks of flats including representation in the Property Chamber and the courts. He has also dealt with many commercial disputes, professional negligence and insolvency claims.

He has frequently given talks on the law as it affects managing agents through the Association of Residential Managing Agents and other groups.

He has been recommended for many years by the Legal 500 Guide to the Legal profession which has said that Mark ‘is very highly rated by clients’, ‘explains complex issues in understandable terms’ and ‘is excellent in really difficult situations’. He is a committee member of the Bournemouth Law Society and a governor of Dumpton School.

Mark is married with 2 teenage children and at weekends can often be found on his boat which he sails competitively.

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