Prevention is the Best Medicine – Understand Your Contract

The title sums it all. In many cases you could wasting your time, and perhaps money, going after leasehold advice only to end up finding out the mistake was made in the very beginning, in your leasing contract.
Whether by ill-intentions of a developer or freeholder, over-excitement of the leaseholder, or simply miscommunication and lack of legal knowledge, the problem might very well lay in the contract.

Revise critical sections.

Some leaseholders find too late they have signed a lease that waivers one of their rights or put them under demanding circumstances.
A freeholder can have the right to forfeit the home if a set number of rental terms are unpaid, or even if you fail to pay certain service charges.

Pre-collection of service charges.

This is a common practice for the majority of modern day leases. The freeholder or developer would normally have, in the leasing contract, the right to collect money in advance for service charges and general maintenance. 
This estimated figure is supposed to be reviewed at the end of the year. Any shortage would then be billed to the leaseholders and any surpluses are required to be paid back out to the leaseholders too.

So, leaseholders must pay whatever they are told?

Yes and no. Yes anything that has been agreed upon or any service charges less than the capped values in legislations must be paid for in full by the leaseholder.

In the case of extra charges though, or feeling that you are being unfairly charged for services, a homeowner should definitely look for good leasehold advice and has the right to contest charges in front of the Property Chamber Tribunal.

Finally, it goes without saying that legal contracts can be very confusing to most individuals, especially that the wording is not as simple and clear cut, so one shouldn’t hesitate in seeking leasehold advice before or during contract talks.