Service Charge Collection
Dorrington's policy is to act as a responsible landlord and to deal fairly with our leaseholders. Late service charge payments can adversely affect our managing agents' ability to effectively manage your property. A well-managed and maintained property enhances the value of your investment in your home and your quality of life.
Cash balances in service charge accounts earn interest for the benefit of the service charge fund, so it is unfair to lessees who do pay on time to allow others to delay payment, because they still share in the interest accruing. Late payments add to the cost of collection and may result in legal fees, which become part of the service charge and thus penalise those who pay promptly. For all these reasons Dorrington asks its managing agents to insist on prompt payment of service charges.
Collecting the Service Charge:
Service charges are collected in advance in accordance with your lease terms. We ask our managing agents to submit service charge demands, so far as practical, at least 14 days before they are due. If payment is not received by the due date, action will be taken to recover the unpaid sums. Please do not ignore reminder letters or letters advising you that we intend to take recovery action. Interest may be incurred on late payments. Recent changes in law mean that we have to take prompt legal action. As soon as solicitors are instructed costs begin to arise. These may have to be paid directly by you, or by the service charge. If our solicitors begin proceedings, then we will claim against you not only the arrears but also interest on late payment, as well as legal costs. Our last resort for the non-payment of service charges is an action for forfeiture of your lease and repossession of your property. Legal action against you for service charges will result in notices being served on your mortgagees. Bear in mind that judgements obtained for non-payment of service charges may have an adverse effect on your ability to get credit elsewhere.
Be aware of the dates when service charges are due and how much they are. Our managing agents produce full estimates each year and the sum payable by each lessee is established in advance. Please do not arbitrarily withhold service charge sums. If you have a query, raise it in writing, but you must make the payment. If you dispute the sum demanded, there are certain limited grounds on which you may be entitled to a refund:
- if you believe that the sum expended is not part of the service charge obligation under your lease, or that it is an unreasonable expense; or
- if you believe that there has been a mistake in the way your account has been maintained or your service charge computed.
In these circumstances you should make these specific points in writing to our managing agents. Your ultimate recourse is to apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for a ruling on the reasonableness or otherwise of the charge. We also have the option of going to the Tribunal to demonstrate reasonableness.
Further information and complaints:
If you would like more information on service charges you can obtain a free leaflet published by The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions entitled Long Leaseholders' Rights and Responsibilities. Copies are available from:
DETR Free Literature
PO Box 236, Wetherby LS23 7NB
Tel: 0870 1226 236
Fax: 0870 1226 237
You may also contact:
The Leasehold Advisory Service
149 Tottenham Court Road
Tel: 020 7383 9800
Dorrington requires its managing agents to comply with the RICS Residential Management Code, which was approved by the Secretaries of State for England and Wales under the Terms of Section 87 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. Copies of this document are available from:
12 Great George Street
London SW1P 3AD
If you wish to make a complaint or comment on this procedure, please write to:
The Managing Director
14 Hans Road
London SW3 1RT
Fax: 020 7753 7611