In Admiralty Park v. Ojo [2016] UKUT 0421 (LC)  a tenant did not succeed in challenging service charges payable in relation to a property, even where it was accepted that those charges were calculated incorrectly. Brethertons LLP was instructed by the successful landlord.

The service charge levied by the landlord was spread across nine leasehold properties, one of which belonged to the tenant in this case. 

Under the relevant lease, the service charge payable by the tenant to the landlord was calculated by way of a formula. Service charges had been calculated by the landlord incorrectly since at least 2009; however the tenant was prevented from challenging those service charges because he had not made any objection to the method of accounting used. 

The Tribunal found that the tenant had acquiesced in the manner of calculating the service charge; moreover, whilst he may not have fully appreciated the requirements under the lease, he did have the opportunity of reading the lease and discovering the method of calculating service charges. It was found that it would be unfair for the tenant to now be allowed to challenge the service charges on grounds he had chosen not to raise for a number of years, particularly given the difficulty that the landlord may face in recalculating service charges back to at least 2009 across all nine properties.

This case is potentially of assistance to landlords of properties where service charges have been demanded incorrectly and are subjected to challenge by tenants, particularly where the tenants have not raised any objection for a significant period of time.