We have posted on this topic before but many questions we receive on the helpline come back to the same answer.
Whether you are dealing with an AST or long leasehold dispute the starting point must always be the agreement or lease. The Courts, adjudicators and LVTs will always look at the lease/agreement as the starting point. It is imperative that advisers check the document carefully to ensure that all terms have been complied with and/or the remedy sort is provided for. Generally Courts etc will not look to imply terms into such a written agreement and will expect parties to comply with the terms that are written. This is particularly true for the party seeking to rely on the same.
Service charge clauses in particular often contain detailed requirements. It is not sufficient to say a party is not prejudiced by a failure to comply strictly with the terms. A careful review should always be undertaken by all managers and owners whether or not it appears that everyone is happy. Parties can and often do raise disputes at a later stage.
The Courts, adjudicators and LVTs have issued a number of decisions over the past 12 months making this clear.
The moral is therefore, check the documents and check you comply!