Residential service charges are subject to statutory control. In the commercial world, however, many a tenant has been mauled by what might be seen as the law of the jungle! Despite the RICS Service charge code now being in its third edition, it hasn't had to be observed.
All that might be changing with the fourth edition, out for consultation until December 6th. Described as a "momentous step", the new code, based on work with major organisations, will impose on RICS members managing a service charge mandatory professional requirements. So, if you have anything to say about this, now is your chance - tell the RICS now.
We're developing new mandatory requirements to ensure service charges to commercial tenants are transparent, upfront and fair, and that any costs incurred to repair or maintain their building are in accordance with the terms of their lease. Property professionals involved in the managing of service charges now have until 6 December to have their say on the consultation’s recommended requirements. We have long called for a fairer and more professional approach to property management to help outlaw 'rogue' landlords and managing agents. The launch of the 4th edition of the 'RICS Code of Practice: Service charges in commercial property, due 1 April 2018 as a professional statement with mandatory requirements, will provide a momentous step in helping to better regulate the activities of landlords and their agents, whilst protecting tenants from having to pay for unscrupulous repair or maintenance costs.