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Residential service charge update

June 15, 2015

Residential service charge demand and the requirement to identify the landlord

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) has held that service charge demanded from a tenant under a residential lease had not become due, as the demand did not comply with section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 (LTA 1987).

A demand for rent or other sums payable to the landlord must contain the name and address of the landlord (section 47(1)(a), LTA 1987). The “landlord” means the immediate landlord. The sum will not become due until the information is provided.

T was a long leaseholder in a block of flats. The parties in this case had thought that Cameret Court Limited (CCL) was T’s immediate landlord and that Cameret Court Residents Association Limited (CCRAL) was a party to T’s lease only in its capacity as management company. However, this was incorrect and CCRAL had become T’s immediate landlord.

The landlord’s agents had served demands which contained the names and addresses of both CCL and CCRAL. However, the UT considered that it was unclear whether either of those companies was being identified as the landlord. If a demand provided the name and address of two or more different companies without identifying which of them was the landlord, it did not provide the required information.

Section 47(2) of the LTA 1987 therefore applied. However, to satisfy section 47, all that was required was for a notice to be given to T informing her that CCRAL was T’s landlord and provide its address.

This serves as a cautionary reminder of the strict requirements of section 47. Landlords should check that their practice accords with its provisions, as failure to comply could delay collection and lead to disputes.

Case: Tedla v Cameret Court Residents Association Ltd [2015] UKUT 221 (LC) (20 May 2015)