This is a new one on me – a worrying problem submitted by Tom, who is a tenant, to the Blog Clinic:
We are tenants of a flat, our landlord is in arrears in paying his service charge. We have tried contacting the landlord with regards this, but to no success .
Anyway we’ve had a main door key stolen and we need a replacement. It’s an Abloy key that you can only get cut with a security card. The management agency hold this card. I have emailed them asking about getting replacement keys cut. They replied saying that they are unable to deal with us until the landlord pays the service charge arrears.
This can’t be right can it?
We have the right to access regardless of issues between the landlord and management agent?
What happens if we lose the remaining main door key?
Well Tom, your landlord is certainly in the wrong here, but it is difficult to see what you can do about it. Hopefuly you won’t lose your remaining key.
If you do, and your landlord still fails to pay his service charge, the only thing I can think of is for you to pay the service charge yourself – if this is the only way you can get the key cut – and then deduct this money from your rent.
Obviously you need the key to be able to use your property so this must be the only solution. Particularly if your loss of the key is not your fault – such as theft. However try to avoid the necessity if you can!
It might be an idea to write to your landlord in advance warning him that if you ever lose your keys you will have no option but to do this. Bearing in mind that if you do actually lose your remaining key you will need to deal with things urgently and will not be able to give him time to pay up first.