Residential Service Charges

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Speaker(s): Sarah Thompson-Copsey
CPD Time: 1.5 hours
Duration: 1 hour
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Service charges are a common source of friction between landlords and tenants, and residential service charge disputes in particular can very quickly become very contentious – even where the landlord is a company owned by the tenants, or a tenants’ RTM company is responsible for services. This practical video will look at residential tenants’ statutory service charge rights – and landlords’ statutory obligations – and the continuing impact of Supreme Court Arnold v Britton on the tribunals/courts interpretation of these rights. It will cover:-

  • Why the lease terms are still paramount: Anchor v Waby; Urban Splash v Ridgway; Sauderson v Cambridge Park
  • Challenging service costs: what is “reasonably incurred”?
  • “Qualifying long term arrangements” identifying and dealing with them: Corvan v Abdel-Mahmoud; Bracken Hill v Dobson
  • Advance service costs: what impact of statute? Avon v Cowley; FirstPort v Cityscape
  • Remedies for failure to pay: Stemp v Ladbroke Gardens; Gibbs v Lakeside; Cheerupmate v Calce

Learning Objectives

As a result of watching this video, the delegates will understand and be able to advise tenants, landlords and tenant company landlords as to:

  • Why following the service charge ‘machinery’ remains crucial to successful service charge recovery, and in particular why the role of certification, and the definitions of “repair” and “costs” are so important
  • When and how to comply with the statutory requirement to consult on service charge costs
  • The impact of statute on a landlord’s ability to recover advance service charges
  • The remedies available – and the hoops to go through – when the tenant fails to pay service charges



Sarah Thompson-Copsey is a former property litigation partner at the firm now known as Dentons, where she acted for and advised many blue chip retail clients, developers and institutions. She is now a freelance legal trainer, lecturing and writing regularly on commercial property topics, with an emphasis on avoiding & resolving disputes. Sarah also works as an independent auditor of legal practices.

Sarah is co-author of Tenants’ Pre-emption Rights: A landlord’s guide to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 (Jordans) and Mixed Use and Residential Tenants’ Rights: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and Leasehold Enfranchisement, (Elsevier 2009). She is also on the property consultation board of Practical Law Company and a site editor for the Property Law website at

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