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Information about service charges

This content applies to England

A tenant's rights to information about service charges.

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a tenant, including a long leaseholder of a local authority, has rights to information about service charges. These rights have been added to by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

The tenant is entitled, on making a written request, to a summary of the relevant costs incurred in the last accounting year or the previous twelve months. The summary should give details of all the costs incurred by the landlord for repairs and services. It should also include the total of any money received by the landlord from the tenants for service charges yet to be used and information concerning any renovation grants received by the landlord.[1]

This summary must be supplied within one month of the tenant's request, or six months from the end of the period covered in the summary, whichever is the later date.

Inspection of accounts

The tenant can also ask to inspect the accounts, receipts and other supporting documents: the landlord cannot charge for this other than for taking copies of the documents.[2] Where such documents are held by a superior landlord, the landlord can require their disclosure, and the superior landlord is then under the duty to allow inspection.[3] Where the tenant assigns her/his ownership, a request already made continues, but the landlord cannot be required to comply more than once for any one property and any one period.[4]

Criminal offences

A landlord, with the exception of a local authority, National Park authority or new town corporation,[5] can be prosecuted for failure to respond to either a request for a summary of, or the right to inspect, the accounts without reasonable excuse.[6] On conviction a landlord is liable to a fine. A tenant or the local authority can prosecute, although the latter very rarely do so. A tenant cannot apply for an injunction in the civil courts if a landlord does not comply with the tenant's request.[7] Local authorities may prosecute under any offence contained in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002

Under the 2002 Act, the landlord must serve a notice stating the tenant's rights and obligations in relation to service charges when making any demand for service charges. The tenant has a right to withhold payment in the absence of a notice. The form that notice should take is to be set out in regulations (by statutory instrument).[8] See The Landlord's demand for more information.

Wales

The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1] s.21 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

[2] s.22 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

[3] s.23 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

[4] s.24 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

[5] s.26(1) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

[6] s.25 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

[7] Morshead Mansions Ltd v Di Marco [2014] EWCA Civ 96.

[8] s.21B Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, inserted by s.153 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

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