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Claimform on service charges. *SUCCESS* - now at it again!!

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To the court I take it not the sols.??


if you put all the pix into a word doc first

then pdf that

it will work better.


if you cant click on a picture and see it

neither can we.


jpg's don't work as they get reduced in size to stop the forum from slowing dowm




please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Its unclear from all the above amounts what the exact amount is owning.

BUT I think Im right in saying that you now only dispute the £85 court costs ?


Now normally in a general dispute this wouldnt be payble unless the case went ahead and you lost BUT the worrying thing about many leases is that they allow the Freeholder to recover ALL legal costs, even more worrying is that these costs are recoverable under the lease NOT under the law and the freeholder can recover them even if he loses in court !


So it would appear to me that IF you were genuinelly late in paying (ignore the fact you were ill or have a sick note, this is no defence however harsh it may sound) then the costs of £85 are receoverable under the lease (Page 13 - 5 (vi)). Now if the issue did go to court or the FTT (previously known as LVT, a special tribunal that deals with such issues) they can use S20C of landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to disallow such costs being pased onto to leaseholders.


Haaving read you posted corespondence I note that the Fh says the £85 is payable under statute, I think this is right, you admitted that the sum was owning and you paid it but not untill after court actions was started, the sum is payable under statute by which they mean civil law, at this stage the bit I said about Admin Charges - Summary of Rights does not apply its only if the dont claim it under statute but under the terms of the lease do they need to send the Admin Summary.


You have paid the amount owning so Im not sure that you actually have any defence, unless you are going to claim that you believe its not due and that you paid under protest ?


Have you got copies of the actual demands for the service charges ?



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Hi Andy

I do have copies of the demands and a credit note for 124 also sent in Sept..

Let me me if you need these to be uploaded.


Quick point what about works outstanding that I have asked to be resolved for some time.

Does that carry any weight.

I have uploaded the Particulars of Claim

I have uploaded 2 statements of charges and payments


1. The Particulars of Claim has 0.00% in the first paragraph.

2. In October, the only communication I received was the smaller statement of costs through the year.

The larger one uploaded was one I requested from another dept in the company.


What has occurred is this In August I spoke to the freeholders and asked for a payment plan, they said NO.

I said I could not afford the invoices.

As I recall I owed for only 2 invoices in June and was upto date prior to this.

They still said NO. I said i would pay what I could.


I paid on 31st August by BACS £250.00.

They did not LOOK in their bank account which was paid a week before and instructing the solicitors in early Sept to write their demand letter. They are aggrieved that they instructed their solicitors to write to me without checking their account for the payment I had made.


When I received the solicitors letter on 4th I called the solicitors saying your letter is wrong as I paid £250.00 last week.

The subject of the September invoice was not discussed, it was only discussed about paying the balance outstanding at the end of August. I had not received the invoice in the post for Sept by then and I'm sure they are misleading the truth.


In October I recieved the smaller summar of the year with no covering letter.

which is does not show any payments for the year.

The other statement I obtained from another dept, does give a truer picture.


Ok being ill is not a defence and I have not denied paying their invoice. And I do have the Invoices yes.

They did scare me into paying the costs on their money claim action.


Did you say that they had to send their Admin costs with a summary of rights and obligations?

Does that hold any weight.

Thanks Carne


One more point Andy,

Yes, I only dispute the £85.00 and interest.

From what I read it doesnt look good for me.


? Notice of Intent.

Is that the letters in September.

Should they have sent a reminder or something in October for September invoice.

How can they send a letter of intent only 2 weeks into the September month.


If necessary I will ask the judge to assign the claim to the small claims courts so that it stops me incurring any court costs if I lose.

Edited by citizenB
Replacing attachments properly edited
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Thanks. I suspect that the 0.00% should be 8.00%, just a typo, doubt that changes anything.


What we need to see is the actual demands for the service charges ?, assuming they are payable quarterlyy but not actually demanding them is not good enough. They need to be sent and accompanied with Summary of Rights.


Can we make it clear what you have or havnt paid, were the service charges paid upto date when they started the court claim, or did you owe an amount ?

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Why would you need to see the demands? They are standard invoices in advance. Happy to upload them tho.

I owed

This from 1st Sept outstanding 187.12.

But then this changed what I owed. 12th Sept credit note 124.00 balance 62.12. (Yearly balancing credi)

And so did this. 29th Sept invoice 105.50 balance 168.62 (rec,d early Sept' for advance charge starting 29th Sept)


168.62 owing at end of Sept 14


Just want to add this in relation to Andy,s comment about freeholders wanting to use statute law ie my lease to recover their legal costs


This is what I came across


Section 153 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, with effect from 1st October 2007 requires that "A demand for the payment of a service charge must be accompanied by a summary of the rights and obligations of tenants of dwellings in relation to service charges" & accordingly a tenant may withhold payment of a service charge which has been demanded from him / her if the requirement to provide the summary is not complied with in relation to the demand" "Where a tenant withholds a service charge under this section, any provisions of the lease relation to non-payment or late payment of service charges do not have effect to the period for which he withholds it"


So its just a late payment only, and they can't use the lease terms to recover their legal costs with no summaries attached, ONLY if I accept the demands.... So I need to say the party acted 'frivolously or an abuse of process". Since most of the demands were on the whole up to date, only (Sept 1st in advance request to pay 29 Sept) did not allow 30 days (from 29th) before proceeding as 'excessive' and 'abuse of process'.




"This summary, which briefly sets out your rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, must by law accompany a demand for administration charges. Unless a summary is sent to you with a demand, you may withhold the administration charge.


In respect of your failure to make any payment due under your lease or in connection with a breach of a covenant or condition of your lease


since I paid the money claim I could use this provision I think?.

So if I put in my defense on email, on 6th, I am at a loss as to which acknowledgement I choose -

1, Admit part of the claim, or 2, dispute the whole claim and make a counterclaim against the claimant, stating 'i paid under duress but do not accept their claim' to recover their costs as these were late payments.:mad2:

Please advise.



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Hi. Asked to see the demands as they may be invalid, IF the demands didnt come with a valid Service Charges - Summary of Rights (can you scan this too), then they wont be payable, this is a very important defence, (I myself have used this in court and saved 6 years worth of service charges, about £2500).


I think you are getting a bit confused, there has been no abuses of power or acting friviously.


By claiming the costs under STATUTE what they are saying is:-


1. The sums were owing.

2. You didnt pay on time (previoulsy paying on time or being ill is no defence)

3. They sent a final demand and there was no response so they issued court claim.

4. You paid the amount owning, therefore you have no defence or dont wish to dispute the amount owning.

5. Due to 4. the court fees of £85 are payable, if noit at this stage they could continue with court claim untill judgement and it would then be payable and enforceable by the court.


Once a court claim has started you cant just pay the amount owning, you will be liable for the amount owning AND any court fees/costs (limited in a small claim).


EVEN IF the above didnt apply the lease allows them to recover any legal/solicitors costs for chasing late payers, this is somwething to be careful off as there is no protection against costs such as small claims and these costs can be succesful even if the freeholder loses in court, this has seen some freeholders be lumbered with huge costs of tens of thousands !, of course it wouldnt be fair iof a freeholder took someone to court and lost but still tried to recover his costs, so courts and FTT's have powers under S20C of Landlord & Teant ct 1985 to stop a freeholder doing this IF they think its fair to do so.


The parts you mention above are IF the freeholder doesnt recover under statute but under the lease but it doesnt look like he needs to.

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Hi Andy,


Umm I see, so where do I go with this now!


I have to respond today to their letter that says they are giving me until 6th Nov to pay their legal costs (see prev post with attachment). And I am keen to send in my defence to the court.


what would be a good way of saying I do not accept the demands on the court claim defence since Ive already paid the invoices.



their demand letters in Sept (these had wrong amounts on both the letters since I had paid most of their costs in Aug 250.00).

Does this make their case weak? They are aggrieved they wrote to me without checking their account that is why they want to offset their cost for writing to me. Surly a defence in my case would be this since I asked for a payment plan in Aug, and paid an amount.


When they wrote to me on 3rd Sep with their demand letter they believed I had not paid anything and all the all costs in the letter are incorrect - doesnt this carry some weight if the Notice of Intent is not correct.

They also did not list their Admin costs before action


what about protocol before action?

Anything in this area.


***Attached are the invoices and a summary of tenants rights. The summary of tenants rights ONLY attached to the credit note and not the invoices.

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Good News, the Service Charges - Summary of Rights they attached is invalid :).


For demands after 1st July 2013 it should be EXACTLY as listed here > http://www.lease-advice.org/publications/documents/document.asp?item=13


As you can see, the one used by your freeholder differs, this gives you a right to withhold payment (at least untill such time as they send a valid demand).


So any legal action should fail, as you can show that at the time of the court action, nothing was actually owing.


You may have paid the amount now but FTT/LVT rules says that payment is not an admission.


So what you need to do is acknowledge the claim form and file a defence, I can help with this.



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OMG!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to you.:whoo::wink:

Can you look at the draft Defence I created this last night.

It does need tweeking loads since you brought up this point above.

I see they've completely missed Point 6.

The font is smaller in their one.

There seems to be lots of errors.


I also read about pre-action protocol that the courts suggest Claimants address before court action, and ive used some of this in my defence.


1. The sum of £261.27 is disputed.

At the time of court action nothing was owing.

The sum of £176.37 has been paid due to harassment.

I do not accept the demands from XXXX as legal and binding.


No demand for payment of service charges was accompanied the Summary of Rights and Obligations under Section 156 of the Leaseholder and Tenants Act, 2002.


This relates to Invoices

01/03/14 xxxxxx for £81.12,

01/06/4 xxxxx for £105.50,

29/09/14 xxxxx for £105.50


2. The sum of £261.27 is disputed.

The Claimant did not attempt to discuss, explore or negotiate or reach any settlement to resolve the matter prior to instructing their legal advisers.


No prior notice or formal correspondence was undertaken by XXXX Ltd.


The Defendant could not foresee the actions of the Claimant with no initiation of engagement and therefore sees their actions as unfair and inappropriate with no administration costs detailing clearly with any accompanying Summary of Rights and Obligations under Section 156 of the Leaseholder and Tenants Act 2002.


First initiated contact by the Claimant.


A letter dated 3rd September 2014 from their acting agents XXXX Solicitors seeking to recover costs which makes no reference to a sum of £250.00 paid to the Claimant 7 days prior to their instruction nor does it not make clear they had entered into a notice of intent or, that it should be acknowledged.


The amounts stated were incorrect.

An email to the agents recently has made clear their letter was intended as a notice of intent.


A further letter dated 4th September 2014 from XXXX Solicitors was received outlining an agreement following a telephone call I made to their office on 4th September 2014 seeking to address the acknowledgement of the earlier payment.


The agents had not been informed by the Claimant before instructing proceedings.

It was suggested that the demand amounts were incorrect and the letter should be reissued.


No agreement was entered into in relation to the demand for 29th September 2014 as this was not disputed.


Pre-action Protocol was not followed:

No notice of money claim court intended action or Particulars of Claim have been received by the Defendant.


No clarifying notice for balancing costs have been received for the £124.00 credit note on 9th September 2014 reducing the balance outstanding to £62.62 as well as the new demand for 29 September 2014 for £105.00 increasing the balance to £168.12 by 29th September 2014.


The Correspondence received from the Claimant throughout September 2014 and October 2014 is as follows:

Letter dated 3rd September, from Solicitors showing incorrect balancing.

Letter dated 4th September, from Solicitors.

8th October 2014, received Summary of balance on account dated 29th September 2014

with no covering letter or any correspondence,

date stamped on envelope 6th October, 2014 which gives no indication of payments made.


Following receipt of the court claim whilst the matter has been ongoing

I have attempted to engage with the acting agents for XXX. 


During attempts to communicate further their conduct has been defensive and difficult in seeking resolution.


3. I do not accept the interest due to the above points 1 and 2.

In addition in the particulars of the claim it states ‘ the statutory interest is claimed at 0.00%’.

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I had same issue so can cut n paste some bits from my defence :)


There are some other options...


1. Write to FH and tell em about their invalid demands and offer that they withdraw their claim with no costs or you could say your cost are £50 (But at this stage youll have to file defence first anyway).


2. Ask the Court for a Summary Judgement and that the FH's claim be struck out, BUT this does carry a bit more risk, basically what you are saying is their case is so weak it should be struck out straight away, if claim is not allocated to small track yet, you can in theory claim your costs at £18ph and claim maybe £300 or so but on the otherside if it isnt struck out instantly you could have to pay THEIR costs, its a bit risky so cant recommend it, but its what I used in very similar situation, they withdrew their claim for £2500 and paid my costs (about £300 first time and second time withdrew case and offered me £175) - I cant recommend this rout though.

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That will be great Andy, I will take my chance and go for having it struck out and claim my costs and donate half to consumer forum, because they have put me through such hassle

First thing is ? will have to file defence, yes please let me have A copy of your defence, Do you think they will say I accepted the demands because I paid though.


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So lets work on defence.


All we have seen so far is their claim in post #44, correct ?


Defence. (Rough draft)


1. It is admitted that I, Caren am the leaseholder of blah blah


2. It is admitted that Service Charges are payable to the FH under the lease, if demands are sent in accordance with the lease and statute.


3. (The FH's calculations are incorrect, the correct sum due is £xxx). - i dont follow this bit, so you need to spell out exactly what you have paid and what you think is owing.


4. Service Charge of £xxx



This sum is not due. Under S 21B (3) of The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, all demands for payment of Service Charges must be accompanied by Statutory Instrument 2007 No. 1257 - The Service Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations, and Transitional Provision) (England) Regulations 2007, this ‘Summary’ must follow a precise form and content, this includes the exact wording and even the font size used.


The demand sent by the defendant does not comply with the form and content as required by legislation as it was not accompanied by a ‘Summary of Rights’ that contains the changes as required by Paragraph 40 Section 2 of The Transfer of Tribunal Functions Order 2013 (6) which following the abolition of The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal and its replacement by the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), required that various changes be made to the wording of the ‘Summary of Rights’ sent to leaseholders when accompanying a demand for Service Charges.


The ‘Summary’ sent by the defendant does not comply with the form and content as required by S 21B (2) as it does not contain the revisions required by The Transfer of Tribunal Functions Order 2013 (6), I have a right under S 21B (3) to withhold payment and therefore this amount is not due.


The defendant as a professional freeholder with legal representation should ensure that demands for payment are valid before starting litigation. I note that the correctly worded versions of the ‘Summary of Rights’ are easily available from, for example, Oyez and the free government-funded Leasehold Advisory Service and other online sources.


5. As no valid demands have been sent, I am entitled to withold payment of the Service Charges in questions, any associated adminstration charges, court fees or interest are therefore not also due.


6. I wish to make an application under S20c of The lanlord and Tenant Act 1985 to asks that that all or any of the costs incurred, or to be incurred, by the landlord in connection with these proceedings are not to be regarded as relevant costs to be taken into account in determining the amount of any service charge payable by the tenant or any other person or persons specified in the application.


Ok..Thats rough draft

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AndyYes I owe £168.12 on the service charges


Just wanted to make the point. Your post made me laugh because you put your landlords through the mill - twice!!! Didn't they learn the first time they tried it on with you,

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Nope.my fh is stupid and has employed a useless soliciotor, I've had pleasure watching him squirm in court! 👨


So the claim for £168.12 is correct and nothing wrong with that, BUT as I pointed out, it wasnt actually due as the Summary was wrong and therefore nothing was owing, so they shouldnt of started court claim, and I've every confidence that the claim would fail in court and they would find the £168.12 not owing and nor any costs and court fees, in fact it is you who could costs, as its small claim it would be limited to £90 max for day off work and maybe travel costs, etc.. (Unless you wanted to follow the riskier Summary Judgement/Strike Out route).


Let us know if you wish to defend and Ill write up my previous draft defence in a Word doc you can use.

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Hi Andy,

Sorry, again night shifts for a couple of days! Hence late reply....but not forgetting this matter.

..just awake unable to get my sleep pattern back to days.



Here's my stance at this point. Considering these people have tried to intimidate me (letter 29th Oct giving me till 6th of Nov to pay up, then letter on 3rd Nov, intending to strike out my defense if I defend them)


Im inclined to hit back hard, but 10% concerned they will say 'as I paid the money and interest, I'm accepting I owed them the money' I paid £173.00 which I read on the claim form without realizing it incl. interest. Im thinking this was a bluff tho - this is the only point I am concerned about - I could kick myself for paying up when I got their money claim, panicked. Just re-read your point: You may have paid the amount now but FTT/LVT rules says that payment is not an admission where is this point just for reference!



.. you imply the court will likely find it in my favour. How does it play out on the Summary Judgement/strike out route....? 90% interested in going this route even with potential/riskier option to end up paying their legal costs? They couldn't hit back with anything? so if nothing was actually due this makes their claim invalid so I will go for it being struck out, how do I do this and add costs. I like the challenge !:-D

Im going to Defend, I would appreciate your typing up a copy. I havent had chance to review your one above. Once again thanks Andy, your a star.



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Yes, perhaps it would of looked a bit better if you hadnt paid but dont believe it would make a difference, you could claim that you paid under protest even though you didnt actually say that at the time.


The relevant law is > http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70 , see Section 27A (5), (5) "But the tenant is not to be taken to have agreed or admitted any matter by reason only of having made any payment.", its get a bit confusing as this law applies to an LVT court (now called FTT) and not specifically the County Court, but CC's should in theory transfer all Service Charge issues to an FTT/LVT and you can specifically ask that this happens. I would assume that a CC would think that this is good enough.


As for Summary Judgement, what you are saying to the court is that the case is so simple that there is no need to go any further with allocation or preparing a trail date, the claim should be struck out straight away, the important part is that there are no "triable issues", i.e there really is nothing to discuss or argue, its there in black and white, the Summary of Rights was incorrect and the money was NOT owing at the time that the FH starting his claim.


Bear in mind The Summary Judgement argument should be short and simple (which I believe yours is), if there is anything of substance to argue about then it should be left to continue to a full trail, of course it is quite possible to 'lose' the summary judgement part but win the main trial.


IMPORTANT to remember, at SJ, it is pre-allocation, so its not a small claim and costs do apply, you could ask for your costs at £18ph, you could say youve spent 10 hours on this as a Litigant in Person (someone without a solicitor) but the other side could ask for perhaps 2-3 hours charges at solicitor rate of upto £200 an hour so there is a risk.


In my case, I had exact same argument, my Fh solicitor wrote to me saying he thought my SJ part would fail (but he would say that !) but they offered to withdraw their claim and pay me £175 (It is quite possible that your FH may do something similar or you could write and say "Ive paid amount, you withdraw the claim and the £85 costs and leave it at that".


One thing that is in your lease is that if Service Charges are not payable then they can be recovered as 'Rent', I need to check up on this, as legally there is a difference between Service Charges and Rent.

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As these are paid now they cant be recovered as rent.


If there is also the argument for rent then there is an argument for obstruction. On email 'I asked for the name of the person at the FH who the solicitor's were dealing with. They would not give me a name. In the summary of rights it says something like if I ask for the name of any/all the persons from the company i should be given their Director/Secretary.


If I strike out their claim, surely they cant hit me for costs because there is no legitimate claim, then only my costs could be pursued from them.


Hopefully we can proceed now with the strike out defense.:|


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I believe that if the Service Charge has been VALIDLY demanded and you then dont pay it turns from service charge in rent in arrears, but it would appear to me that it falls at the first hurdle, it hasnt been VALIDLY demanded therefore cant turn into Rent in Arrears.


Dont understand the obstruction bit plus cant see anything in the Summary about names of Director or anything, so dont worry about that.


Right, attached two versions. One is Summary Judgement version and other is 'normal' defence.


Have a read through and see if you understand, both are saying the same thing, as the Summary of Rights is incorrect, nothing is payable.


Difference is, with Summary Judgement you are asking it to be struck out quickly, BEAR IN MIND, if the SJ/Strike Out is refused you could be liable for the FH's solicitor costs of maybe £400-£600 and you will still need to go the full defence trail, upside if you win is case is over with quickly and you could claim costs of upto about £300 in my experience.


I'd recommend NOT going SJ route but just filing normal Defence/Witness Statement.

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Looks good Andy

What's the gap for on iii ? I understand I all. Is it important to have the paragraph about claiming 'rents' as service charges. The invoices state they are service charges - I guess this is to cover me if they use this clause in the lease.

So if I go the demand route would iI choose to counter claim for costs because it states the same point at the end 'The defendant asks to claim for XX for litigate etc,

I've got 3 choices Admit, part admit or defend all.


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Cant see a gap on iii ?, You sure its not paragraph spacing ?. Needs a bit of tidying up first before sending.


The rents bit is a bit confusing and not 100% sure if it should be mentioned, BUT the claim is for Rent and if case gets moved to FTT/LVT, then they have juridstiction over service charges but NOT rent so its my opinion it needs to be spelt out that the claim is for service charges and NOT rent in arrears.


No, there is no real counterclaim in my opinion so ignore this, costs are costs they are not a counterclaim, (uless you were going to sue for some sort of damages.)


Defence would be to defend all.


Dont forget it may not go to court, there might be mediation, the FH might offer to settle, plus I'd recommend that after they have seen the defence that you write and make an offer that you will accept that they drop case, perhaps if they pay you a small amount of £50 or so.

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Hi Andy

Checked with the court the cost for a strike out and they said it is 155.00 so it is not worth it. I will put my defence together later today and send it tomorrow. Still got till the 25th November . Just one more point In the last paragraph of the defence do I put a fee of say 50.00 to 100.00 for my own litigatetion, I just want to know before I send it in.

I will keep you in the loop as to what happens from there.

Again just want to thank you even though it's been like pulling teeth with me!


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Yep. Always a cost to apply for strike out, I've added a line to Defence to ask that court strike it out of their own initiative, doubt they will but worth a try !


Had a tinker with Defence and attached it, think thats pretty much complete, Ive added that you should get costs (above standard small claims ones) as the Freeholder should of double checked his demands were fully compliant before rushing into court action, again, its worth a try. No need to mention an amount now, there is proper form to fill in to list your costs, you hand this in about a day before hearing.


Need to check whether claim is from Freeholder or from management agent acting on behalf of freeholder.


Given this a bit more though and uploaded defence again.


Bits in Red - Evidence and Light Blue can be deleted as as this is initial Defence, no need to go into that detail, you can add that detail if needed when/if the other side file their Statement of Case/Witness Statement and you file yours. Its not needed at this stage.



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Andy, your a clever man - your FH landlord should come to you for all his litigation advice! Thanks, I could not have done this without your help.....thank you so much.

Ive looked at the defence and I see the line about strike out, well worth trying. The claim is from the freeholder so ive put that point in.


After sending the defence, you mention a hearing date. Will there be a hearing or do they just look at the defence and make a decision. I am wondering about the proper form to fill in to list costs.


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Normally they set a hearing date on which you attend but in my upcoming case they said it will be decided on paper, so no need to attend, I think this is becoming more common as the court system is getting busy !


Also its possible that as its service charges, it will get referred to an FTT (previoulsy LVT), this in theory is supposed to be a low cost/informal hearing (they are often held in hotels or local church hall or something), but Im not a fan of them, they made some strange decisions in my case and I wasnt that pleased, they are not run by a Judge but a panel of 2 or 3 'qulaified' individuials but are well known for strange and contradictory decisions.


Anyway even at an FTT/ LVT, it may or may not need a hearing that you attend (if the case involves the property, such as damage or building works, they often visit your property too).


You can read all the FTT decisions here, have a random click through if you have time > http://www.lease-advice.org/lvtdecisions/tables.asp?table=2

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  • dx100uk changed the title to Claimform on service charges. *SUCCESS* - now at it again!!

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