Service Charges: Avoiding the Problems

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Speaker(s): Sarah Thompson-Copsey
CPD Time: 1.5 hours
Duration: 1 hour
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A perennial problem for both landlord and tenant alike, service charges can be tricky to get right, especially in the context of mixed commercial/residential buildings. Exploring both the court’s approach to the wording of service charge provisions and the impact of both the Service Charge Code and statute, this practical on-line video guides you through the tips and traps of service charge recoverability.

  • Opening up the service charge – is it possible?
  • Consultation in mixed use and residential buildings – the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Daejan v Benson
  • Certification – why it’s essential to get it right
  • What are ‘services’ and can the landlord ever require reimbursement through the service charge for replacement and/or upgrading?

Learning Objectives

On completion of this video you should have an:

  • Understanding of the difference between recoverable and irrecoverable service costs
  • Appreciation of the strict wording of the lease in terms of certification, and of the re-opening of the service charges
  • Understanding of the impact statutory service charge rights of residential tenants as they affect both residential and mixed use buildings
  • Awareness of the main provisions of the RICS Service Charge Code as they affect the levying of commercial service charges



Sarah Thompson-Copsey is a former property litigation partner at the City law firm now known as Dentons, handling all types of commercial property problems, but with an emphasis on avoiding & resolving commercial landlord and tenant disputes. Sarah now works as a freelance lecturer, trainer and author and lectures & writes regularly on commercial property topics, as well as providing independent auditing and consulting services for law firms.

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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