Brady Solicitors has helped a freehold residents’ management company to resolve a complex case involving a disruptive leaseholder, a disputed major works project, and substantial service charge arrears.

Successful communal living depends on everyone doing their bit and generally toeing the line. Just one disruptive leaseholder can cause disharmony at best and real cash flow problems at worst. For management company directors, the day-to-day impact of a difficult leaseholder can be felt even more keenly.

This was the scenario facing the management company of a small and highly exclusive London development.

The development had recently installed a new lift but one leaseholder refused to pay, on the grounds that ‘he didn’t use the lift’. His property was on the ground floor.

The unpaid demands came to well over £10,000 and it was having a damaging impact on cash-flow for the development. This was on top of the stress and angst being caused by the leaseholder’s behaviour.

The lease was a tad ambiguous, so the Management Company directors opted to secure a determination at the First-tier Tribunal. The FTT found in favour of the management company, ruling that each leaseholder was liable to pay their share towards the cost of maintaining the lift irrespective of its use.

The next steps in resolving the service charge dispute

Our major works specialists reviewed the consultation process that the management company had followed for the lift work and found that everything had been done correctly.

The next step was to work with the management company to enforce the determination and recover all the service charge arrears in full and get the cash back into the management company’s account. We were able to recover payment at no cost to the management company.

This case highlighted the complexities of a service charge dispute and the inherent challenges of communal living, however exclusive the development.

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