Monday 24 September 2007 6.09pm
Just to add to what has been said above, the charges have to be reasonable (as Michelle says) but, if the lease provides that charges are shared equally between the flats, then even though you do not and cannot use the services on the first floor, the chances are that they will stand.
S18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act(the reasonableness requirement) cannot normally override the terms of the lease.
This is an argument that very often comes up in relation to lifts or garage facilities, where ground floor residents/parking space owners say they shouldn't have to pay for lift maintenance/garage upkeep for example. This is even where access to the garage is controlled, so only parking space users can access it.
However, you may have some luck in persuading your management company to change the basis of allocation. Your chances will be better if you can get all of your neighbours that are similarly affected to band together on the issue. LVT is another option, but may be a long shot depending on the precise wording of your lease.
Do you still have the report on title that your solicitors prepared for you at the time you brought your property. Is the equal nature of the service charges split clearly set out in the report - and the fact that you may not benefit from all of the services? What information did they get on your behalf from the managing agents? If they didn't explain the position clearly, you may have some recourse to them.
This is becoming a regular issue with the amount of new developments with shared ownership or key worker housing (Dave, not sure if you are in such an arrangement) and the Leasehold Advisory Service would be my first port of call because I'm pretty confident they will have some experience about this type of thing: