Residential service charges: who should consult subtenants?

Landlords of residential premises who are obliged to comply with the Consultation Requirements should take note of an important decision in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). This decision clarifies that superior landlords intending to carry out qualifying works or enter into a qualifying long-term agreement must consult, not just with their immediate tenant, but also with each subtenant of a dwelling (or dwellings) who is liable to contribute towards the relevant costs.

Failure to comply with the Consultation Requirements could be very costly as it will mean that the superior landlord’s ability to pass on its costs to tenants is severely limited (unless the First-tier Tribunal agrees that the superior landlord may dispense with the Consultation Requirements). This is likely to pose a significant practical difficulty for superior landlords who will not know the identity of those subtenants with whom it is required to consult.