Back in September I was one of the Panel at the NHF Introduction to Service Charges conference. One of the questions was about the Panel’s top tip for anyone coming into the wonderful world of service charges for the first time. My answer was know what is in your occupancy agreements.
The recent Court of Appeal’s decision in Pimlett v Curo Places Limited, in which Anthony Collins Solicitors represented Curo, really demonstrates that.
My full ebriefing on the case is available at: https://www.anthonycollins.com/newsroom/ebriefings/why-when-interpreting-tenancy-agreements-the-wording-is-all-important/.
In summary, Curo provided communal grounds maintenance but it wasn’t a listed as a service in the tenancy agreement and Curo didn’t charge for it. Curo relied on the variation provision in the tenancy to introduce as as “Service” under the tenancy following consultation and then recover the cost through the service charge. The Court of Appeal held Curo’s approach was correct, overturning the decisions of the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal. The wording in the tenancy agreement was the determining factor.
This case will be very important for landlords who seek to rely on provisions in their tenancy agreements to introduce new services or want to start to charge for services they provide. But do note, the particular wording of your tenancy agreements (or more likely, agreements) is all important.
Do get in touch if you would like to discuss the case further or have a service charges query.