Re. payment in advance & challenging (from WendyH). I emailed Mike Edmunds, head of Leaseholder Services earlier today as I thought it a good question and this is what he had to say:
“Payment of service charges doesn’t impact at all on a challenge, leaseholders pay all of their services in advance, simple example would be caretaking. Reasonableness of a service charge is mainly governed by section 19 of the Landlord and Tenant act 1985. If the service is poor or not delivered the leaseholder is entitled to challenge and seek an adjustment.
Same applies to major works paid, a tribunal may decide the cost was too high or the works were of poor quality leading to a reduction.”
I am now reminded that with LVT appeals and now First Tier Property Tribunal (Property Chamber), it is generally recommended to get the work done and keep full documentation as to objections etc. In the worst case where you have a disagreement and go all the way through to appeal which you then lose, you have to pay up and you may not even get the benefit of the work if the project has already completed. Several leaseholders on my estate got burnt this way.
p.s. Mike doesn’t usually respond this quickly, so I’m not going to guarantee that I’ll get such a quick and forthright answer on any other topic!
As to Lambda: I totally agree, just no one is currently willing or volunteering to do this. We (the Forum) do strongly recommend people form both Leaseholders’ and Residents’ Associations within your block/estate if possible, as they give different rights and privileges in terms of access to information and powers during disputes. It’s also a wonderful example of sharing knowledge and being stronger together than individually. More information can be found here: https://www.leaseholdersforum.org.uk/guides/