Admin and Legal charges for Service charge non-payment

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    Admin and Legal charges for Service charge non-payment

    Hi, I exchanged on an off-plan property in July 2018 under a company name and signed the agreement with an address that the company was registered to at that time. After a while I change my company registered address. In March last year I completed on this property and I checked the Lease had my current company address.

    Fast forward May this year and I got a letter from debt solicitors ( representing the Management Company )about non-payment of Service charge along with 450 pounds of extra legal and admin charges. I checked out the invoices and noticed that the invoices were sent to the address that was used at exchange of contracts.

    I am planing to challenge the legal and admin costs and I have already paid the service charge. My basis of challenge is that they should have sent me the invoices at the address the company is registered on in the Lease. The MC says they got the address from the Developers. I have spoken to Developers and they said they got the address from Point of Sale, but I think it may be from the agreement I signed.

    I am wondering what will happen if i refuse to pay ? As in what sort of court will go into ? Will the MC's solicitors charge me their fees apart from the legal and admin costs if they win in court ?

    If I lose the case do I get a CCJ ?

    Any guidance will really help.

    Regards

    #2
    It is YOUR responsibility to provide an address for service. Pay up.

    £450 sounds reasonable for 2 years of chasing.

    You will lose 100%

    Comment


      #3
      I am not sure that there is ever a 100% chance of winning or losing a case before a court or a tribunal, You may have an argument that the developer advised the RMC the incorrect address. Against that, you should have been aware that your Company was not receiving any correspondence from the RMC and you should have contacted them in order to receive service charge demands. You should have arranged also for correspondence to the old address to be forwarded to the new address.

      You say that you have paid the service charges now, I hope that you made it clear that payment was only to be accepted in respect of those charges and was not to be applied against other disputed charges.

      I suggest that you make an offer to settle the other charges in order to avoid legal action and the risk of additional charges. Offering to pay say half the costs may be accepted by the RMC as it would not wish to risk legal action either.

      In reply to your questions, if the case is not settled, it would proceed to the county court. If the court finds that there is money owing by the Company, it will make an order accordingly and the RMC will be able to claim costs. Against the claim for costs, you could argue that an attempt to settle was made. A court order would be against the Company, not you personally and any court order would specify the time within which payment should be made.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
        It is YOUR responsibility to provide an address for service. Pay up.

        £450 sounds reasonable for 2 years of chasing.

        You will lose 100%
        The invoice in question was issued on 26th March 2021. And I made the payment on 05th May for the Service Charge. So they want to charge 450 for a delay of less than 2 months.

        I agree it is my responsibilty but I was never asked for it specifically. When I completed on the property the Lease had my correct address. My understanding was this will then be cascaded down to everyone who needs to know.

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you eagle2 for your reply. I am going to try what you have suggested. As it stands if I have to go to court then it just adds to my costs for time off work and may be travel costs to the court too. On top of that the RMC and their solicitors may add even more legal charges.

          Comment


            #6
            You can argue as well that the solicitors managed to find the correct address, presumably from Companies House, and so could the RMC when it was not receiving any response. You can also suggest mediation if your offer is not accepted, the court will probably suggest mediation anyway as the amounts are relatively small. Good luck with trying to settle and please come back and let us know the outcome.

            Comment


              #7
              What address does the land registry records show ?

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks eagle2.

                sgclacy : the land registry has the same address as the Lease, which is also the correct address where the solicitors contacted me.

                Comment


                  #9
                  OK I thought they were chasing for 3 years. Clearly not - completion was a year ago. It is going to turn on the facts of whether they could reasonably be expected to have used a different address for service and how much effort was expended. We can't see those facts from here yet. Surely you realised that service charges would have been payable?

                  To answer your main question - they will either take it to CC (who might bounce it to FTT if you challenge the basis of the service charge) or might take it to FTT and then use the FTT judgment at CC.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The address is clearly important. They have to go by the address is in the lease or any other address later notified. What those managing should have is a copy or the counterpart of the lease. It is amazing how the correct address comes to light when when the extras have been clocked up and they want to collect them.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Lawcruncher,

                      That is my point too, The RMC are adamant that they go by the address the developers gave them. My only point of worry is that when I signed an agreement at exchange it was the old address( which was valid on that day ) and they can come back and say you have signed an agreement . The Lease at completion had correct address and I am arguing that the service charge became applicable when I completed , and at that time my address was correctly reflected in the Lease.

                      Anyhow I have made them an offer for settlement and will see what they say now.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                        It is YOUR responsibility to provide an address for service. Pay up.

                        £450 sounds reasonable for 2 years of chasing.

                        You will lose 100%
                        What an unhelpful answer, you dont know the full facts of this so cant possibly predict the outcome of the case.

                        Firstly most leases simply do not allow the addition of admin or legal fees (this is only more common on modern leases), secondly Id consider £450 to be excessive for no doubt just a few letters sent.

                        Admin Charges haver to be demanded in accordance with law and many Fhs mess this up, have they complied with ? > https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-...arges-england/

                        The OPs post seems quite reasonable to question the amount and ask advice here.
                        Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                        I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                        It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                        Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

                        Comment

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