When pursuing arrears of service charges through the courts and the First Tier Tribunal, providing the lease includes the appropriate clause, freeholders and management companies will now be able to recover their legal costs even where a claim is allocated to the small claims track – thanks to a victory in the Court of Appeal for Altermans Solicitors and their client Chaplair Limited.

Chaplair Limited v Kumari [2015] EWCA Civ798

Implications for freeholders and managing agents

Previously, leaseholders often successfully argued that freeholders could not recover their costs when cases were allocated to the small claims track, due to the Civil Procedure Rules. The small claims track covers almost all cases where the services charge arrears are less than £10,000.

Thanks to the persistence of Altermans Solicitors, this decision will squash that argument and will enable freeholders and management companies to recover any costs incurred in legal proceedings where the lease contains the appropriate clause entitling them to do so.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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