Q: We have a few issues with leaseholders either not paying their service charges, paying late or paying the wrong amount. We’ve issued many of them with ‘polite’ notices informing them to make appropriate payments, but some are appearing to show a deaf ear. We seek advice on the format of more formal notices we can send them which would be less likely to be ignored. In particular we have one owner who has paid nothing since June 2018.
I am the secretary of our residents run management company and we consist of four directors and 26 shareholders.
We have increased our individual flat service charges from £50 to £70 PCM from January 2019 and every property was sent notice of this to the owner’s known address.
FPRA Chairman Bob Smytherman replies:
Service Charges should be collected in accordance with the lease which usually requires payment in advance of the due date not arrears. We experience similar issues in my own block and after sending reminders with exact deadlines if payment is not forthcoming we instruct a specialist service charge solicitor who carry the collection on our behalf. Usually your lease will allow you recover the funds at no additional cost to your service charge as the cost is met by the leaseholder.
We don’t recommend individual companies but there are a number of specialist firms who will do this for you to collect unpaid service charges usually at no cost. We are happy to refer your lease for a full legal review if you wish
[Submitted March 2019]