Service charge is not easy to collect at the best of times but when the bills are high it becomes even more difficult. Many councils and housing associations have been investing in or are planning to invest in fire safety. The challenge is “Can Social Landlords recharge the leaseholders for works?”.
Finding your way through the maze of legislation, leases, case law and recent tribunal decisions can be difficult. Do you need s20 consultation? What happens if you did not consult how can you get around it? Should you go for a declaration? Is work rechargeable under the lease as an improvement, repair or correction of an inherent defect? Training staff involved in leasehold management will help them make the right decisions early on. Making the right decision early reduces the risk of expensive court cases later when leaseholders challenge their liability for service charge.
There are always the leaseholders who won’t or can’t pay service charge. There are common leaseholders use as reasons not to pay which can be countered. For example;
- What do staff do when the leaseholder claims the repairs were not up to standard or interfered with their quiet enjoyment?
- How do you manage with a charging clause which is too narrow to cover anything or is so broad that it means everything and nothing?
- How should you respond when leaseholders either claim they can get a service cheaper elsewhere or the freeholder has not passed on savings the leaseholder was entitled to?
- How to divide service charge between subsidised and non-subsidised leaseholders?
With training, officers will have the confidence and knowledge needed to successfully challenge those reasons not to pay.
Having established a requirement to pay service charge many leaseholders still do not pay. Officers need to know the best options for sensitive enforcement action. Staff need to know what options they have available without recourse to expensive litigation. This training will give officers that information.
Social landlords have to meet the challenges of leasehold management in today’s world and to do so they need a workforce trained and capable of making the right decisions. LBL Skills have already helped a number of leading Housing Providers. Can we help you? https://www.lblskills.co.uk/training-courses/leasehold-training/