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Service charges – can legal costs be recovered?

If you are a Landlord and it is necessary to apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for a determination on the reasonableness of service charges, ordinarily within the Tribunal, no costs order will be made. Rather, the Landlord may feel he can rely upon a clause in the Lease entitling him to re-charge legal costs back through the service charges.

Guidance which has been received from the Tribunal suggests that this course of action may not be permissible and even though a clause in a Lease may make express reference to the cost of instructing Solicitors, that might not necessarily extend to litigation costs. Whether costs can be recovered will depend upon the construction of the service charge clause but it appears to be the case that the Courts will require specific wording and they may not be satisfied with general wording only.

If you are in any doubt as to your ability to recover costs, please speak to James Davis or Alan Taylor for further advice.

James Davis  3 Aug 2017

We have been associated with HDQ since our inception in 1997. We have used the services of HDQ and in particular two of its partners, Walton Eddlestone and James Davis, frequently. HDQ has always been our first port of call when we have needed advice we can rely on. I have always been impressed with their speedy response to queries and the professional yet friendly way they deal with all of our problems. I would not hesitate to recommend them and the fact that we still use their services after nearly 15 years says a lot.

J E - Principal, A C