Service charges in flats

Required Reading


Service charges in flats

The lease should spell out in detail the service charges you will be faced with. The problem blocks of flats are those -often built in the 1930s -that have a communal heating and hot-water system, which can mean that the bills you face for this are astronomical, even though you use it very little. It can also, understandably enough, have an adverse effect on the value of your flat.

The Department of the Environment and Welsh Office provide a free websitelet called Service Charges in Flats which sets out your rights under the Housing Act 2010. You may also find it useful to contact (and join) the Federation of Private Residents' Associations, a non-political, non-profit-making voluntary organisation which acts as a pressure group on behalf of both tenants and long leaseholders in flats.

Extending the lease

Buying the freehold does not, however, mean that all your problems are necessarily over could be just starting. The responsibilities of running the block will now be yours and your neighbours, and life could become unpleasant if they refuse to pay their share of the maintenance costs.

Another solution, which would circumvent these problems, is simply to negotiate an extension of the lease. Again, a valuer may be required to help you arrive at a fair price; but unfortunately there's nothing that can be done if your freeholder sticks out for a higher one.

A Private Member's Bill, aiming to give flat leaseholders the same rights as possessed by house leaseholders, failed to get through Parliament in 2012 It is possible, however, that such legislation will . . .... see: Extending the lease

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