Promoting and enhancing best practice and technical expertise

Service Charge Disputes

When Best Practice Standards Make a Difference

The relationship between landlords and tenants does get strained; and particularly so in respect of service charges. Tenants can see it as a hidden extra set of charges; and landlords still use it to recover unplanned or otherwise unrecoverable costs. This module looks at the typical causes of service charge disputes, how to minimise them, and what to do when they arise.

Module Duration: 3 hours 2 minutes

Recorded: 01/12/2022

Areas covered

The Typical Causes of Service Charge Disputes

  • Unrealistic tenants 
  • Inflexible/Uncommunicative landlords
  • Delay in property management processes
  • Errors in accounting
  • Lease drafting
  • Basically - not following the RICS professional statement

How the RICS Professional Statement Should Prevent or Resolve Most Disputes

  • What is best practice?
  • Mandatory requirements
  • Core principles underpinning the mandatory requirements
  • Practical guidance to achieving best practice and avoiding disputes
  • Common pitfalls and poor practice to be avoided 

Practical Dispute Resolution Options

  • Resolution options
  • With the lease silent on resolving disputes, are the Courts the right place to resolve disputes?

Account Reporting Standards Imposed 

Short Takeaway Points from Recent Case Law

  • Scope of ‘sweeper’ clauses
  • Recovery of legal costs through the service charge
  • Importance of detail in lease wording


  • Mark Shelton, Commercial Property Management Law Trainer, CPM Law Training Limited and Author of 'A Practical Guide to the Law of Dilapidations' and 'A Practical Guide to Applications for Landlords' Consent and Variation of Leases'
  • Peter Forrester FRICS, Chartered Surveyor; Chair of RICS Service Charge Professional Group
  • Martin Burns BA (Hons) LLB (Hons) Barrister, Head of ADR Research and Development, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • John Boulton, Policy Director, ICAEW (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)