Common Leasehold Disputes and How to Resolve Them
Quick Enquiry Form
Leasehold living comes with its own unique set of joys and challenges. While it offers a convenient way to own a property, it also entails shared responsibilities and the potential for disputes. In this blog, we’ll explore some common leasehold disputes and provide guidance on how to resolve them.
Service Charge Disputes
Issue: Service charges are a frequent source of contention in leasehold properties. Leaseholders may dispute the amount or question how the funds are used for maintenance, repairs, and communal services.
Resolution: To resolve service charge disputes, follow these steps:
Review the Lease Agreement: Start by carefully reviewing your lease agreement to understand your obligations and the services covered by the charges.
Seek Transparency: Request a detailed breakdown of the service charges from your landlord or managing agent to ensure clarity and transparency.
Mediation: If disputes persist, consider mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services to find an amicable solution.
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT): In cases where the resolution is challenging, you can apply to the LVT (now known as the First-tier Tribunal – Property Chamber) for an independent assessment of the service charges.
Repair and Maintenance Disputes
Issue: Disagreements can arise over the responsibility for repairs and maintenance of the property, particularly in communal areas or shared facilities.
Resolution: To resolve repair and maintenance disputes:
Refer to the Lease Agreement: Consult your lease agreement to determine the respective responsibilities of leaseholders and the landlord.
Communication: Open a line of communication with your landlord or managing agent to address the issue and seek a resolution.
Expert Advice: If needed, consider seeking advice from a property expert or surveyor to assess the extent of the problem and provide recommendations.
Legal Action: As a last resort, you may need to consider legal action through the courts if disputes remain unresolved.
Issue: Noise complaints, boundary disputes, and disagreements with neighbours over shared facilities or common areas can lead to tense situations.
Resolution: To address neighbour disputes:
Communication: Start by discussing the issue with your neighbour in a polite and non-confrontational manner. Often, open communication can resolve minor disputes.
Mediation: Consider mediation or involving a third party to mediate the discussion if direct communication fails.
Community Guidelines: If applicable, refer to any community guidelines or rules set out in the lease agreement.
Legal Action: In extreme cases, legal action may be necessary, but it should be a last resort.
Lease Extension and Enfranchisement Disputes
Issue: Disagreements may arise between leaseholders and landlords or between leaseholders themselves regarding lease extensions or collective enfranchisement (buying the freehold).
Resolution: To address lease extension and enfranchisement disputes:
Legal Advice: Seek legal advice from a property expert or leasehold surveyor who specialises in leasehold matters.
Mediation: Consider mediation to facilitate negotiations and reach an agreement that benefits all parties.
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT): In some cases, you may need to involve the LVT (First-tier Tribunal – Property Chamber) for a fair valuation and resolution.
Remember that open communication, a clear understanding of your lease agreement, and a willingness to seek expert advice or mediation from leasehold valuations can often lead to successful resolutions for leasehold disputes. Additionally, keeping records of all communication related to the dispute can be valuable in case legal action becomes necessary.