We are self managing a block in W2. The building has 7 flats. 4 owners own the freehold at 25% each. Each flat has a different value and pay a different % of service charge. The other 3 flats are only leaseholders (they do not own the freehold). So far we have been managing since 2009 without asking any money to the leaseholders for managing the property, nor for director or secretary fee. Since lately one of the leaseholders wanted to extend his property against the lease we had to stop him legally and we (the freeholders) incurred in high legal costs. We have been asking for ground rent, but that is all. Now we would like to ask for managing costs and we would like to know how it works, what are the expenses we can recover as freeholders.

Whether as a self managing landlord you can recover your management costs will be specified in the lease. Similarly whether you can recover the cost of appointing a professional Managing Agent will also be set out in the lease. Many leases whilst providing for a Managing Agent, because they use the words 'Managing Agent' as opposed to the words 'managing' leases often cover the costs of an Agent but not necessarily a self managing group to charge costs. In terms of retrospective costs Section 20B of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act prevents you going backwards in charging further than 18 months from the date you bill an amount, so you cannot now go back and charge costs to 2009. It only costs 60+Vat for Ringley to benchmark your lease and answer these questions if you would like us to do so.

Chiara , W2