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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am a joint leaseholder and have requested a summary as per

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I am a joint leaseholder and have requested a summary as per section 21 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
The landlord failed to provide me with it, so I am planning to apply to County Court in order to obtain it.

My qestions are:
1. I am a joint leaseholder. In a request for summary as per section 21 or other official communication with the freeholder, can I act on my own or do I have to always ensure the other joint leaseholder signs everything with me/authorise me to represent them?

2. What is the time limit for providing the summary as per S.21. I have read in different sources that it is 1 month from request or 6 months from the end of the accouning period, but did not find any particular time limits mentioned in the actual Landlord and Tenant Act 1985?

Your help would be appreciated

Joshua :

Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

Joshua :

Is there a third party landlord please or do you own a share in the freehold?

Customer:

Hi Joshua

Customer:

Thank you for your reply

Customer:

Neither I nor my co-leaseholder own a share of the freehold.

Customer:

There is a superior landlord that owns the land. They just get the ground rent. Otherwise the initial Landlord/who sold the land to the current one/ created years ago a company which is the immediate landlord/written on all demands and other correspondence/ and which deal with the management of the building. So we have the superior landlord who is not involved at all in service charges and the immediate landlord who deals with service charges.All the documents regarding those charges are kept and managed,as far as I am aware, by the immediate landlord.

Joshua :

Thanks. The landlord must provide the summary within one month of your written request or within six months of the end of the 12-month accounting period for the period you request whichever is the later

Joshua :

If the landlord fails to provide the summary within the above periods you can ask the local housing authority to bring a criminal prosecution against the landlord

Joshua :

You can act on your own as an individual leaseholder in requesting the above and you will likely be aware that you have further rights under s22 of the same Act to require further information in support of the summary once received.

Joshua :

If you are unhappy in relation to service charges following or preceding receipt of a summary you may be better served by considering using a Leasehold Tribunal rather than the county court. These are specialist tribunals that deal exclusively with leaseholder issues and have more expertise than the average district judge in the county court that would otherwise here such a matter in relation to leasehold issues.

Joshua :

http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/leasehold-003-eng.doc

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

Joshua, I appreciate your advice which I believe is correct. However, I have already contacted the housing authority/the local council/ and they in fact ignored my concerns and did nothing. At present I am following this up with their complaint department, but even if they at some point decide to act this will be far away in the future as it will take something like contacting the local government ombudsman in my opinion. Meantime I can not wait and that is why am considering to ask the county court to order them to give me the summary

Customer:

Could you please clarify in which exactly act or similar it says the period within which the landlord should supply the summary. Also, just to make sure I understood correctly-you are stating that I as a joint leaseholder can act on my own and they can not legally ignore my requests on the grounds of not being technically correct-by not being signed by the other co-leaseholder

Joshua :

Thanks. Unfortunately councils can be inconsistent and though many will be perfectly helpful it only takes a less than interested or overworked officer for the landlord to get away with his obligations. You can bring a private prosecution in the magistrates court if the council does not take action though is is required to enforce the legislation and a complaint in respect of the authority seems appropriate.

Joshua :

If you wish to bring a private prosecution you can contact your local magistrates court for a form to complete and submit. In the alternative or in addition you can seek an order that the landlord provides the summary either by way of a dispute with regard to disputing the service charges using the above form during which the tribunal will order disclosure or by way of applying to the county court for an order for disclosure under the Act

Joshua :

Regulations provided under authority of s21 Landlord and Tenant Act prescribe the above time periods. You should also be conscious of s21A which provides that you may withhold service charge relating to any period in which you have requested a summary and which the landlord has failed to provide it.

Customer:

Thank you Joshua.That is all very helpful.My concern is that although it is quite well known the above time limits in the actual Act it doesn't state any specific time frames, so in case the case goes to court and the landlord tries to be clever I am concerned that they might point out exactly this and then the whole thing will fall through as no offense would be committed;also if there are no time limits in the act then the court might decide that I did not wait sufficiently/even if more than 1-2 months/ and conclude that my court application was unreasonable and impose me to pay the costs. For that reason I need to know where to find the exact time frames stated

Joshua :

You make a good point - and for a short while you had me going in circles however the answer is it is contained in s21A f the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as amended. The problem is the governments legislation site is showing the wrong version as they have not updated the statute still on their site. The correct version is as follows:

Joshua :

21. Request for summary of relevant costs

(1) A tenant may require the landlord in writing to supply him with a written summary of the costs incurred;
(a) if the relevant accounts are made up for periods of twelve months, in the last such period ending not later than the date of the request, or
(b) if the accounts are not so made up, in the period of twelve months ending with the date of the request,
and which are relevant costs in relation to the service charges payable or demanded as payable in that or any other period.

(2) If the tenant is represented by a recognised tenants’ association and he consents, the request may be made by the secretary of the association instead of by the tenant and may then be for the supply of the summary to the secretary.

(3) A request is duly served on the landlord if it is served on;
(a) an agent of the landlord named as such in the rent book or similar document, or
(b) the person who receives the rent on behalf of the landlord;
and a person on whom a request is so served shall forward it as soon as may be to the landlord.

(4) The landlord shall comply with the request within one month of the request or within six months of the end of the period referred to in subsection (1)(a) or (b) whichever is the later.

(5) The summary shall state whether any of the costs relate to works in respect of which a grant has been or is to be paid under section 523 of the Housing Act 1985 (assistance for provision of separate service pipe for water supply) or any provision of Part I of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (grants, etc for renewal of private sector housing) or any corresponding earlier enactment, and set out the costs in a way showing how they have been or will be reflected in demands for services charges and, in addition, shall summarise each of the following items, namely:
(a) any of the costs in respect of which no demand for payment was received by the landlord within the period referred to in subsection (1)(a) or (b).
(b) any of the costs in respect of which:
(i) a demand for payment was so received, but
(ii) no payment was made by the landlord within that period, and
(a) any of the costs in respect of which:
(i) a demand for payment was so received, and
(ii) payment was made by the landlord within that period,
and specify the aggregate of any amounts received by the landlord down to the end of that period on account of service charges in respect of relevant dwellings and still standing to the credit of the tenants of those dwellings at the end of that period.

(5A) In subsection (5) “relevant dwelling” means a dwelling whose tenant is either:
(a) the person by or with the consent of whom the request was made, or
(b) a person whose obligations under the terms of his lease as regards XXXXX XXXXX relevant costs relate to the same costs as the corresponding obligations of the person mentioned in paragraph (a) above relate to.

(5B) The summary shall state whether any of the costs relate to works which are included in the external works specified in a group repair scheme, within the meaning of Chapter II of Pt I of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 or any corresponding earlier enactment, in which the landlord participated or is participating as an assisted participant.

(6) If the service charges in relation to which the costs are relevant costs as mentioned in subsection (1) are payable by the tenants of more than four dwellings, the summary shall be certified by a qualified accountant as:
(a) in his opinion a fair summary complying with the requirements of subsection (5), and
(b) being sufficiently supported by accounts, receipts and other documents which have been produced to him.

Joshua :

You will note the provision in s21A(4), namely:
(4) The landlord shall comply with the request within one month of the request or within six months of the end of the period referred to in subsection (1)(a) or (b) whichever is the later.

Joshua :

Is there anything else i can help you with?

Customer:

Thank you!You clarified it precisely! One very final thing.You already stated that I can act on my own even if a co-leaseholder. Does it change anything that in my lease it states that the tenant would be two persons.I was thinking on the line that if the tenant is two persons then /as in case of sale or purchase/ they might be required to act jointly for anything including exercising their rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.This is the final issue.

Joshua :

If there are two tenants named on the lease then both can make the application however one can make the application without the other as there is joint and severable liability for the rent and service charge.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Customer:

This was all.Thank you very much!

Joshua :

A pleasure. I hope you are successful in holding the landlord to account.

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