I live in a block of 72 flats and the service charges keep on going up: more than 12% this year compared with last. I have been billed three years running for repairs to the flats’ entrance and redecoration, but it has not happened. I am therefore withholding £4,000 service charges until the landlord does what we have supposedly paid for.
Withholding service charges is highly risky and should not be the strategy in 99% of cases. If you get taken to court for this debt, the legal costs against you can be devastating. Dennis Jackson here https://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/dennis-jackson-and-plantation-wharf-did-it-have-to-end-like-this lost his £800,000 flat to forfeiture over a debt of £9,000 that was reduced to £6,000 on the first day of the hearing: in other words, he was correct to one-third of his case. But he was wrong on the rest and last his home – until LKP and Sir Peter Bottomley intervened and got it back for him.
In the Jackson case, and others, lawyers got their truly outrageous fees as administration charges under the lease.
Another case involved the Wellcome Trust, the second biggest charity in the world, spending £114,000 to get back £6,000 of unpaid service charges. https://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/wellcome-trust-spends-114000-on-lawyers-to-defeat-onslow-square-leaseholder-in-6000-dispute
These are shock-and-awe legal costs, designed to utterly destroy the leaseholder and put the fear of God into their neighbours to pay up pronto.
Always – ALWAYS – pay first and fight second in leasehold disputes because of the unfair cost regime.
I want to fight the service charges in tribunal, or should we go right to manage?