Service Charges & Estate Management Update: February 2017

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There are three cases in this month’s update, provided by Diane Doliveux:

Waaler v Hounslow LBC [2017] EWCA Civ 45 - Different considerations came into the assessment of “reasonableness” in different factual situations. There is a real difference between works which the landlord is obliged to carry out on the one hand, and work which is an optional improvement on the other. The Upper Tribunal had made no error of law in formulating criteria that a landlord should consider when deciding to carry out works, and had not applied a different test to improvements on the one hand and repairs on the other contrary to statutory intent. 

Knapper v Francis [2017] UKUT 3 (LC) - When determining whether a service charge payable on account is ‘reasonable’ under s.19(2), the FTT should disregard matters not known to the landlord at the time when the tenant’s contractual liability to pay service charges arose.

Southwark Council v Various Lessees of the St Saviors Estate [2017] UKUT 10 (LC) - The FTT had been entitled to take its own knowledge and experience into account when determining the amount of service charge recoverable by a residential landlord, as well as to take a robust and broad brush approach where there had been a lack of specific evidence before it. The FTT did not necessarily have to set out a legal test in its judgment where the parties before it were agreed on the law.

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