Service charges and ground rent

Service charge arrears

Lease terms state that when a demand for payment is made, the leaseholder must arrange to pay within 28 days. After 28 days the debt is considered outstanding. The Council will then issue reminder letters before commencing legal action.

The London Borough of Harrow does not have to offer monthly payment arrangements or discounts. This is offered at the discretion of the Council outside of the Lease agreement.

What should I do if I cannot afford to pay my service charge?

Contact the Leasehold Team using the details at the end of this page, within 28 days of the invoice date. We can consider setting up a payment plan over 10 months. We may need to take details of your income and expenditure.

If you already have a payment plan you still need to contact us within 28 days of this invoice date. We will discuss with you how this bill can be paid. We will not automatically put this new bill on your payment plan.

If you do not think you'll be able to pay off the arrears in 10 months, contact the Leasehold Team. We might make an appointment to discuss your arrears. We'll need to see documentary evidence of your income and expenditure. We will do our best to come to an agreement to pay the debt. However, to avoid court action the debt must be paid off within a reasonable period.

Arrears recovery process

If payment is not made after 28 days of the invoice, this is the process:

  1. Reminder 1 letter is issued. This gives the leaseholder 7 days to make a payment or an arrangement.
  2. Reminder 2 letter is issued. This gives the leaseholder a further 7 days to make a payment or an arrangement.
  3. Letter to Lender. A letter is sent to your lender giving them 14 days to confirm they'll clear the debt on your behalf.
  4. Prepare for Legal. If your lender refuses to pay or if you don't have a lender registered we'll commence legal action.

Legal process

  1. Letter before action is sent to the leaseholder. This gives you 30 days to respond.
  2. Claim is issued. If there's an inadequate or no response from you, the Council will apply interest and their costs at this point
  3. Default judgement. No response is received from you. If you contest the debt, the Court will provide directions for trial.  
  4. No payment of debt after 14 days. Enforcement action will proceed.