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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY NEWS – SERVICE CHARGES By Andrew Kilpatrick, BSc FRICS ACIArb IRRV, Managing Director, Kilpatrick & Co, chartered surveyors New rules have been introduced by RICS for service charges in commercial property. For the 1st time the RICS guidance introduces mandatory requirements, which all chartered surveyors must follow from their introduction in April 2019. The RICS says the aim of the professional statement is to: – 1. improve general standards and promote uniformity, fairness and transparency in the administration of service charges in commercial property; 2. to ensure timely issue of budgets and year end certificates; 3. reduce the causes of disputes; 4. provide guidance on dispute resolution; 5. provide guidance to landlords, tenants, solicitors and managers on the drafting of service charges and interpretation of leases and operation of service charge provisions. Andrew Kilpatrick of Kilpatrick & Co says” Whilst most reputable managing agents have already been operating in accordance with the code, the new guidance is useful. For example, it will now be clear to landlords that where an error is discovered in the service charge accounts, managing agents will be under an obligation to correct the error, without undue delay. It also makes clear that where a tenant is disputing a service charge, any withheld payment should relate only to the issue in dispute and the tenant should not withhold the whole amount. All new leases, including lease renewals, should include provisions for alternative dispute resolution by mediation, independent expert determination or arbitration, instead of court action.” Further information on the new 67 page Service Charge in Commercial Property statement is available from the RICS. Prior to the introduction of the new code landlords might like to check their managing agent is a chartered surveyor and will be adhering to the new rules. Kilpatrick & Co are specialist commercial property consultants and may be contacted at Delta 602, Delta Office Park, Welton Road, Swindon, SN5 7XF; email For further information on this news release, please contact Daniel Pitt 01793 643101.