What happens if you don't pay service charges?
As a property owner, you would have signed a contract or lease when you bought your property which means you are legally obliged to pay your service charges. If you do not pay, the Owners’ Management Company can take legal action against you. Any outstanding debts you have to the OMC can be tied to your property – for example, if you sell your property, the OMC can get a court judgment for your debts to be deducted from the money you get once the sale has gone through.
The freeholder could take forfeiture action against you, which could lead to you losing your home. Forfeiture is similar to repossession and could lead to your lease being extinguished. The freeholder can only start forfeiture proceedings if:
- The amount has been determined by a leasehold valuation tribunal or by a Court.
- You admit the amount is payable.
Special legal procedures must be followed if the freeholder wants to start forfeiture proceedings. If these procedures are not followed, the freeholder may be guilty of an illegal eviction, which is a criminal offence.
Information taken from the Consumer help website