My service charge is normally distributed by rateable values (as there have been no repairs in years this has not been an issue) as suggested by Peter above. However, when one looks closer at the fourth Schedule of my lease that explains how the service charge is calculated and distributed it shows that there are in fact 3 ways that the service charge can be distributed listed as 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3.
4.1 suggests division by rateable values but,
4.2 states “…a fair and reasonable proportion of the costs thereof attributable to the Premises such proportion to be determined by the Landlord’s Finance Officer whose decision shall be final and binding.”
4.3 states “such other method as the Landlord shall specify acting fairly and reasonably in the circumstances…”
This clause means that the service charge can be distributed by any method that is considered fair but that it is up to the Landlord. I have questioned the distribution of the service charge in my case and was informed that the Landlord would not vary the method. I think that this is unfair and I will be contesting my invoice if this remains the case.
In my case I have already replaced (and paid for) new windows in my flat but the Landlord still expects me to pay half of the cost of replacing the windows of the other flat. I think it will be easy to argue that charging me for the other flats windows when they made no contribution to mine should be an easy task and I think it is horrific that the Council seem to think that I am subsidising the building.
Depending on the logic in the particular case this may not be easy to argue as many people have previously taken this issue to the LVT and the LVT normally concludes that it is fair to use the historic method. There is clearly room for argument though if there is flexibility in the lease as there is in mine.