Appealing an excessive service charge - tips please

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Hi,

I have a Buy To Let flat where the landlord (a local authority) is in the process of carrying out a Section 20 consultation on service charges. My service charge contribution for FY14-15 has been estimated to be 14.7k. Last year it was 10k. The service charge for the last 2 years comprises around 17% of my property's value! Previously (for the last 10 years) the service charge was around 1-2k pa and part of the reason we acquired the property was because it was a 1970s block of flats in pretty good condition (with a historically low service charge).

We struggled to pay the 10k last year. And definitely cannot afford to pay the 14.7k this year.

We have until 12/1/15 to submit Legal Observations. I would welcome your advice on what I can do to appeal / challenge next year's service charge? Should I apply to the First Tier Tribunal immediately? Or should I negotiate with or appeal to the landlord directly? If so, on what grounds?

Any helpful strategies or tips very welcome! Thank you.

17/12/2014 15:00

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