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or received a statement of account from your agent, you then have a right to seek information behind the figures if you are still not happy. Any lessee or RTA can request to inspect any receipts or invoices which support the figures in the accounts or summary. You need to write a letter and refer to S.22 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Your agent has to reply within one month from receipt of your letter and allow a period of two months from that reply for you to inspect. The inspection will usually be at the agent’s offices. During the inspection you can take copies of documents but the agent can charge for copies and for having a member of staff in attendance to take copies. If your agent intends to charge you for costs which have been

incurred 18 months before they are included in a service charge demand, then you should be told about those costs in writing within 18 months of the costs being incurred. If you did not receive information that those costs had been incurred then the costs will not be recoverable.


Every time that your landlord demands a payment for service charges then the demand or invoice must be accompanied by a summary of your rights and obligations about service charges. The legal reference is S 153 of the 2002 Act.


Certain fees charged by landlords and agents are defined in law as administration charges. The main categories are fees for consents, approvals, late payment of service charge and ground rent, and the provision of information. Every time the landlord or agent demands an administration charge it should be accompanied by a summary of lessee’s rights and obligations about such charges. The legal reference is S158 of the 2002 Act.


You have rights to be consulted about major works on your block before they take place. As part of that consultation you must be given information about the works proposed. Major works are defined in law as ‘qualifying’ works costing any one lessee in the block more than £250. Your agent has to send you prior written notice of the works. The first notice, called the notice of intention, should describe the works proposed or tell you where you can look at the detailed proposals. The second notice, the statement of estimates, should include at least two estimates and tell you where you can inspect the original documents for those estimates. You may therefore have to travel to the offices of the agent to inspect but you should be able to look at the specification or tender documents used and the priced estimates submitted. In any correspondence you write about major works you should

refer to S.20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Remember you need to act quickly when you receive these notices. You only have 30 days to look at the information and then send your comments to the agents; otherwise you are too late.


You may be concerned that the landlord has signed a major contract for say cleaning or window cleaning that you are not happy about. You have rights to information and to be consulted about some of these contracts; what in law are called long term agreements. Long-term agreements are defined as contracts for services for more than one year and costing any one lessee in a block more than £100 per year. Long-term agreements do not


include contracts of employment for, say, concierges but can include the contract for the managing agents.

As for major works your right to be consulted under S.20 of the

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 means you will receive information before the contract can be signed. The first notice of intention must describe what the agreement is about and the second notice of proposals should list the estimates received and tell you where you can inspect these estimates.


This right allows a group of lessees in a block who are unhappy with its management to appoint a surveyor or an accountant to independently report on whether the management is effective and cost efficient. The audit does not mean a landlord has to change matters but it may be useful if a group of lessees is considering challenging the appointment of a manager or exercising the Right to Manage.

The right is only available if 2/3 of the lessees in the block support it, so any letter to the landlord or agent will require signatures of those lessees as proof. You choose who will be the auditor - it must be a qualified accountant or qualified surveyor. The chosen auditor then serves a written notice on the landlord and agent asking for the right. The notice must specify what documents the auditor wishes to look at and state a date on which the auditor wishes to inspect any common parts of the premises. The legal reference is S.78 of the Leasehold Reform and Urban Development Act 1993.


A similar right to the management audit is the right to appoint a surveyor who can require the landlord to give access to documents and common parts of the block. This right is given only to recognised tenants’ associations. The right is exercised by the association writing to the landlord or agent setting out the name and address of the surveyor, the duration appointed for and the matters in respect of which he/she is appointed. The legal reference to quote in a letter is S84 of the Housing Act 1996.


This is a legal term for an association that has been recognised by the landlord or by the rent assessment panel under S.29 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. In general, recognition will be granted if the association has a membership of 66% or more of lessees, a proper constitution and elected officials. Recognition in this way does give access to greater rights to information. See Guidance Note 26 on the ‘downloadable publications’ page on ARMA’s website.

Association of Residential Managing Agents Limited (ARMA) 178 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 4ND Tel: 0207 978 2607 Fax: 0207 498 6153 E:

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this Lessee Advisory Note, it must be

emphasised that because the Association has no control over the precise circumstances in which it will be used, the Association, its

officers, employees and members can accept no liability arising out of its use, whether by members of the Association or otherwise. The Lessee Advisory Note is of a general nature only and makes no attempt to state or conform to legal requirements; compliance with these must be the individual user’s own responsibility and therefore it may be appropriate to seek independent advice.

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