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Surge in complaints over service charges on leasehold properties

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners says more leaseholders are complaining of inflated service charges for maintenance, upkeep and communal areas. 

The association claims that recent figures produced by Direct Line insurance suggest that 33 per cent of management companies have boosted their service charges over the last two years, with £1,863 now being the average cost leaseholders pay to cover their share of building maintenance.

Unsurprisingly, new builds are subject to a higher ground rent - average £371 per year - compared to £327 for a property built pre-2016.

Service charges differ dramatically between developments, says the ALEP.

It gives the example of a new build in Croydon, coming on stream later this year, where leaseholders must pay £1.55 per square foot in service charges; yet in nearby Lambeth, at a development due for completion next year, there is a £7 per square foot service charge.

“Before purchasing a leasehold property, buyers need to consider the level of service charges and how it is going to affect the long-term capital costs of ownership. It is important to keep in mind that this may have a significant impact on their overheads in the long run” says ALEP director Mark Chick.

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