News & Insights

Fire Safety Works & Cost Recovery Via The Service Charge

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JB Leitch secure an important determination at the First-tier Tribunal for the recoverability of costs for urgent fire safety work costs under the service charge.

With considerable attention being given to the urgency and liabilities surrounding building safety, notably with the reach of the new £1bn remediation fund, the new Fire Safety Bill or concerns around EWS1 and safety certification, this week saw JB Leitch secure a determination on the cost liabilities associated with safety works and the reasonableness of cost recovery via the service charge. This decision is both timely and significant given the ongoing debate and uncertainty on the extent to which landlords and Managing Agents should be liable.

JB Leitch represented the Applicant Landlord in an application under section 27A of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, for a determination of liability to pay and reasonableness of service charges against the Respondent leaseholders at the development.

The application related to urgent fire safety work, specifically the replacement of flat and communal area doors, ancillary works to frames surrounding panels and separate parcel boxes that had been identified as damaged and failing to comply with FRA standards. The main issue for our client was whether the apartment door sets were demised to the leaseholders and would be part of their repairing covenants and not a service charge or were part of the landlord’s repairing obligations and are a service charge. Of specific focus was:

  • The replacement of doors, frames and surrounding joinery in communal areas
  • The replacement of doors, frames, parcel boxes and side panels to the individual flats

The decision provides a timely reminder of the significance of the service charge in both maintaining property and ensuring sufficient levels of safety. Despite the current crisis, service charge recovery is integral to providing adequate provision to conduct urgent building safety work, and in accordance with the terms of the lease and subsequent consultation, ensuring reasonable apportionment of cost.

For further details and comment on this case visit our blog.

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