Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Review into service charges launched

Social landlords are set to be grilled by politicians over service charges issued to tenants.

Steve O’Connell, London Assembly member, is launching an investigation on behalf of the planning and housing committee at City Hall to discover if the charges are fair and find out how they are determined.

All council housing departments in London and members of the G15 housing group will be asked how their charges are calculated, charged, administered and paid for.

Letters will go out next week after which select councils and social landlords will be invited to give evidence in September before a formal session with the committee in October.

The investigation will also take into account people who live in leasehold properties and the private rented sector.

The review will look at how work to properties is managed and consulted on, and the transparency of the charges that are levied.

Mr O’Connell said: ‘As long as landlords have to fork out for repairs, leaseholders will be subject to paying their share of that investment through service charges. 

‘The issue is whether the charges are reasonable and whether they are being administered fairly and openly. I suspect there is significant variation in how landlords determine and manage the charges, which is something my review will seek to understand.’

The investigation will comprise research and analysis of the nature, scale and trends of service charges in London followed by a public meeting in the autumn and the publishing of a report in December.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Good because we cannot get our Housing Association to give us a breakdown

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  • ....or bad if the report reveals that service charges dont cover costs, which is alawys a possibility with any transparent report

    Cans and worms spring to mind

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  • Jono

    A complete waste of money.

    There is already a comprehensive suite of tenant and leaseholder focused legislation which deals with service charges - covering rights and obligations. Leaseholders have access to Leasehold Valuation Tribunals to resolve any disputes they cannot settle with their Landlord.

    As usual, it is ignorance on the part of service charge payers of their rights which lead to continual cycles of unnecessary reviews such as what is being called for now.

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  • Apoica

    The implication from the appendix is there is 135,000 RTB leaseholders in London. The impact of NuLab’s £37Bn contractor’s feeding frenzy known as the DHS should be pointed out to the Assembly. Expecting leaseholders to co-finance, penny for penny, one of the largest overspends in Government history was absolutely disgusting and one of the lowest points (among many, many low points) of what was surely the very worst administration since WW2.

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  • The worst since Churchill you mean?

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  • The problem with Housing Associations is the lack of accountability and scrutiny. The HCA will only intervene in the most serious of cases usually requiring a serious threat to life. However it is possible to hold them to account by ensuring they are complying with the tenancy agreement by application to the First-Tier residential property Tribunal. I have recently had a small amount of success. Do not be afraid you can easily represent yourself even if the HA bring in the legal eagles and senior managers against you. A scanned copy of the full determination of my case number CHI/40UE/LSC/2013/0100 is available at www.dfindlay.com/magna.

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