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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Trusts for particular purposes: flat management companies - leaseholder owners of property

Under the terms of the lease the leaseholder may have to pay into a service charge fund or sinking fund. The funds may be paid to an individual, a company, a trust or an unincorporated association. As the owner owns the property under a lease, the LTA 1987 will apply. If the lease specifies contributions are to be made to a service charge fund or sinking fund then an accumulation trust exists whether the funds are paid to an individual, a company, a trust or an unincorporated association.

The body holding the funds may not consider themselves to be trustees, for example a company. However if Section 42 LTA 1987 applies then the company will be holding the funds as a trustee.

If the lease stipulates that tenants must pay a service charge for particular services to a service company which is not the landlord, connected with the landlord or stipulated by the landlord, this too is within Section 42 LTA 1987. In that Section ‘the payee’ is defined as ‘the landlord or other person to whom any such charges are payable by those tenants under the terms of their leases’.

If the lease states that the tenants should arrange for services, repairs and maintenance etc. themselves but does not specify how this should be done, any arrangement made by the tenants with a service company is outside the scope of Section 42 LTA 1987. The costs in respect of service charges are not made either to the landlord or to another person to whom such charges are payable under the terms of the lease.

Finally where there is no provision in the lease for the tenants to pay into a service charge fund, but nevertheless they decide to create one, then such an arrangement is not within Section 42 LTA 1987 as the tenants are not ‘required under the terms of their leases to contribute to the same costs by the payment of service charges’.