Friday's Conveyancing in Southwark team have often dealt with questions from concerned leasehold owners concerning major work invoices raised by Southwark council in situations where Southwark council are the landlord. Ambiguity about service charge liability can cause severe delays or even jeopardise leasehold conveyancing in Southwark were Southwark council are the landlord.
The behaviour of Southwark council was brought into question a couple of years ago by the BBC programme Inside Out. Broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, accepted only one complaint raised by the London Borough of Southwark against the BBC, whose Inside Out programme on 17 October 2007 was highly critical of the council’s aggressive approach towards its leaseholders.
Southwark council, complaining to Ofcom claimed that those leaseholders unable to afford its demands for major works – amounting to tens of thousands of pounds for each leaseholder – would pay nothing. In fact, those leaseholders unable to pay would have a charge placed over their homes for the major works, with interest continuing to accumulate until the bill is finally settled in full.
Ofcom rejected London Borough of Southwark’s complaint about the comments in the programme by leaseholder David Clarke, who said he had “discovered £1. 5 million worth of illegitimate charges”. If you are intending to sell a leasehold property with Southwark council as your landlord in the near future please contact our Conveyancing in Southwark team who can investigate your exact service charge liability and leasehold obligations.
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