Choosing the right solicitor to recover service charge

Debbie Phillips, Head of Practice Area for Residential Property Management at Brethertons Solicitors LLP gives us 13 top tips for choosing the right solicitor so that you can enjoy a harmonious working relationship!

It would be fair to say that spending money on lawyers is not always top of the to-do list. Lawyers are usually regarded as a distressed purchase. William Shakespeare summed up the feeling of the day in Henry VI, when he wrote the line, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers".

Now choosing a lawyer that you might not want to kill is, we hope, surprisingly simple. Choose the right one and you will enjoy a harmonious working relationship!

Here are thirteen top tips on what to look for:

1. Make sure the lawyers are real experts in their field. This can be a complicated area of law. As a firm, have they won any awards for service charge debt recovery?

2. Have individual lawyers in the firm won awards for their professional expertise?

3. Have any of the lawyers been asked to advise the Law Commission on how residential leasehold law should be reformed?

4. Is the law firm rated as experts in both Chambers Legal Directory and The Legal 500?

5. Are the lawyers regularly invited to speak at conferences on the subject of leasehold law?

6. Are the lawyers members of and provide training to the main professional property management associations such as the Association of Residential Managing Agents or the Institute of Residential Property Managers?

7. Do the lawyers provide training webinars available to all on leasehold related law issues?

8. Can the lawyers provide reference from satisfied Property Management and RMC/RTM Director clients?

9. Have the lawyers made law by successfully pursuing client cases in the FTT, Lands Chamber Tribunal, High Court or Court of Appeal?

10. Do the law firm offer a written lease review service as part of the recovery process? It’s important that both the customer and the lawyer understand what the lease allows the parties to do.

11. Do the lawyers check that the service charge demands are accurate and compliant before pursuing the debtor? If the service charge demand is defective it’s good practice to correct that before a case is thrown out at a court hearing.

12. Do the lawyers obtain Office Copy Entries from the Land Registry to check who the registered owners of the property are? There is no point in pursuing the wrong debtor!

13. Can the lawyers provide detailed financial management reports showing the progress of multiple cases and provide measurements such as cash recovery and file closing rates. Time is usually of the essence when it comes to recovering service charge monies.

You won’t be surprised to learn that in an article written by a firm of lawyers, we can answer a confident “yes” to the questions posed above.

Whilst we can’t guarantee you will fall in love with us …you will hopefully feel that we are certainly not worth killing!

For more information about the services we can provide to the Property Management sector contact Debbie Phillips:

Direct Dial 01295 661482

Office 01295 270999


Twitter @leaselawTKW

Reviewed: July 2019