Home / The Rix & Kay Blog / Service Charge Disputes – County Court or Tribunal?
Caroline Knowles-Ley

Associate - Brighton & Hove

22nd December 2022

Service charge disputes are one of the main disputes that can occur between landlords and tenants. The best way to resolve a dispute is to try and reach a resolution through communications and, if possible, a meeting to work through the issues. However, some disputes just can’t be resolved with parties becoming entrenched in their position. The decision is then County Court or Tribunal?

Usually the County Court would be the preferred route (for claims under £10k) as the process is clear, there are deadlines and procedures to be followed. However, if a leaseholder disputes the ‘reasonableness’ of the service charges the case will most likely be transferred to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT).

The FTT is usually made up of a lawyer, surveyor/valuer and a lay person. The recovery of costs is more fluid and it can take longer than the County Court although delays with the Courts at the time of writing are perhaps the worst they have been.

We strongly encourage both freeholders and leaseholders to keep good records, to communicate early and to look to resolve issues early as if you end up in court or at a tribunal it will always time consuming and costly ultimately utilising mediation where possible to bring about an early resolution.

We are here to help

If you have questions regarding service charge disputes or if you would like advice on any dispute resolution matter, please contact Caroline Knowles-Ley in Rix & Kay’s Dispute Resolution team based in Brighton & Hove. Caroline specialises in property litigation covering both residential and commercial landlord & tenant related issues including repossession and forfeiture, neighbour disputes such as boundary, rights of way, rights of light, trees, trespass and nuisance issues arising over a range of property related matters as well as dealing with Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 claims. Tel: 01273 766917 or email: carolineknowlesley@rixandkay.co.uk