Service Charges

Online Service Charge Dispute Analyser FAQ

I think my service charges are unreasonably high. Can I stop paying?

Although unreasonableness is a ground to withhold the payment of service charges, you must be able to prove this by evidence supported by legislation and ideally, case law. Pro-Leagle's Service Charge Dispute Analyser looks at 'reasonableness' and all other relevant grounds in detail and should provide greater understanding and clarity to your situation.

I am particularly concerned that my Buildings' Insurance is too high. Can Pro-Leagle's online Service Charge Dispute Analyser assist with just this one service charge item?

Yes. You can ask the online Service Charge Dispute Analyser to focus on Buildings' Insurance only. Alternatively, you can select this in addition to Repair/Maintenance Service charges, Sinking/Reserve Fund, Administration Costs, Management fees, Accountants Report, and other professional fees. The choice is yours.

I would like my service charges reviewed but I am not sure my fellow flat-owners feel the same. Can I still proceed?

Yes you can. You do not have to act with your neighbours to review or challenge any service charges. However, if you show them a copy of your Service Charge Report and this indicates good grounds upon which to make a challenge, they may decide to join forces with you. Unless, there is a case already pending, you could then share costs and legal fees should you wish to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).

I have already paid the service charges I now wish to dispute. Am I able to do so?

Unless you have evidence (preferably in writing) that you paid the service charges but that these were not agreed, it will be difficult to argue there was any dispute. If this is the case, you are unlikely to succeed in any later challenge. Nevertheless, that does not mean you cannot contest future service charge requests.

I have read a lot of information online about service charges. Is it a case of 'one size fits all' when making a challenge?

Not at all. Service charge law is highly complicated and confusing. It is easy to be misled and follow the wrong track. For this area of law, you require a personalised Service Charge Report with recommendations and advice tailed to your specific situation. This is where Pro-Leagle's Service Charge Dispute Analyser is invaluable as you will receive detailed feedback for every service charge item in dispute, including reference to important case law and relevant Acts and Regulations.

My freeholder uses aggressive tactics when requesting service charges and often threatens legal proceedings, including forfeiture, if I fail to pay. What can I do about this behaviour?

Unfortunately, some freehold owners use underhand tactics to secure payments of service charges, whether or not they are justified in doing so. Many regularly threaten forfeiture proceedings and even issue court proceedings in the County Court for recovery of service charges together with legal costs and interest. If this has happened to you, do not panic and try to avoid settling payment where it is not justified. This action may only encourage your landlord to consider you a 'sitting target', leading to further hostile demands for monies.

Pro-active leaseholders who know their rights and are prepared to exercise them are generally well-rewarded in leasehold outcomes, more particularly in respect of money, time and mental health. Knowledge is power! This is where Pro-Leagle can help.

I have not taken any legal advice but I still hoping to challenge my service charges?

This area of law is very complicated and you will find it difficult to mount a successful challenge if you proceed without legal advice. Lawyers are expensive for this type of work as it is time consuming and usually a large bundle of papers needs to be reviewed. Pro-Leagle's Service Charge Dispute Analyser is a low cost alternative to a lawyer's Service Charge Case Review, yet provides sufficient level of detail to compare favourably.

How does the online Service Charge Dispute Analyser work?

Pro-Leagle has compiled a database of service charge legislation and important case law from the Upper Chamber, the Court of Appeal and higher courts. The information you provide is used to extract and consolidate information relevant to your specific situation. This is compiled in a comprehensive Service Charge Report with recommendations and action points to follow for every service charge item in dispute.

Do I get immediate access to the Service Charge Dispute Analyser upon payment?

Yes. Once you have made the payment, you will automatically receive login instructions by email to access a secure part of the Pro-Leagle website. This section is called Pro-Leagle Wired. You can save any progress you make through the interactive questionnaire so that you can come back to it later. You should also be able to access the Service Charge Analyser via your mobile phone.

How much does the Service Charge Dispute Analyser cost?

It currently has the introductory price of £39.00 with three weeks access online.

What other costs will there be?

If your service charge report recommends that certain formal letters should be sent to your landlord, Pro-Leagle offers statutory template letters at £4.99 to help you get these right. This is, however, an additional feature and you may not choose to use it.

Once I have received Pro-Leagle's Service Charge Report, what is the next step?

It depends what is stated in your Report. If your Report concludes that you have no grounds or only minor grounds to challenge a service charge, you may decide not to pursue the matter further. If, on the other hand, your Report states that you have good grounds to take further action, you can decide to pursue the matter with or without legal representation. Pro-Leagle always recommends, however, that you consult a specialist prior to making an application for a determination of service charges in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).

Are Pro-Leagle's costs fixed?

Yes. Pro-Leagle's charges are fixed for the Service Charge Dispute Analyser. Nevertheless, should any legal assistance or consultation be required, including legal advice and representation at Court/Tribunal, Pro-Leagle charges on an hourly basis. An estimate of fees/costs can be provided upon request.

Is the online Service Charge Dispute Analyser suitable for professional and layman use?

Yes. Pro-Leagle has designed the Analyser in clear and understandable English with useful Help Hints and straightforward guidance. Nevertheless, the information provided is detailed and is likely to save a legal/property professional considerable time.

Are you a firm of solicitors?

Pro-Leagle is a law firm authorised and regulated by the Rennes Bar (registered in France: SIRET ID 794 947 358 00014). All and any Pro-Leagle solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) of England and Wales. The Managing Director of Pro-Leagle is a solicitor qualified to practice in England and Wales and is registered with both the Law Society of England and Wales and the Rennes Bar.