Sunday, 26 April 2015

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.

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