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Service Charges: Potentially Reclaim Overpayments. One MoneySaver got £400 back!

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  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
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    iceman442 wrote: »
    I pay £67 per month for service charge and I have only seen the windows cleaned once in two years. The cleaner spends ten minutes in the block and then leaves not doing the job properly. Rubbish is cleaned at the front but never from the back of the property. The property has never been decorated in the communal areas. When I have contacted the management company they are very thin on information and I can't work out what they are doing with the money. Any ideas as to what I can do?

    You must put your complaints into writing every time - best thing to do is formally request a breakdown of the charges and copies of the service contracts so you can see what you are complaining against. Read the Lease Advisory Service website, it explains that documentation must be supplied within one month of a request. If you quote the Landlord-Tenant Act 1985 as explained on the website, your management company will probably take you more seriously.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
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    Here is the link to the Lease Advisory Service
    http://www.lease-advice.org/publications/documents/document.asp?item=14
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
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    mrowen76 wrote: »
    I can only agree with everything everyone is saying already about these companies. There is no accountability and they seem to just charge what they like without ever providing receipts. I haven't paid my service charges for nearly a year now as i've been trading letters with the company, Scotts, who ramped up the annual charge by 33%, have no focus on costs and presumably use the same tradesman they have always used for works because for them that's easy rather than earning their money and getting a few quotes. I'm well aware i'm legally obliged to pay but they refused part-payment and, sadly, also refuse to engage in any sensible discussion about how we can work to bring costs down - they are simply not interested.

    You are only legally obliged to pay in certain circumstances. If you are disputing the charges as not being "reasonable" or "reasonably incurred" (Landlord-Tenant Act terminology) you can withhold service charges. BUT you must have followed the correct procedure, foramlly requestion breakdowns of charges, copies of service contracts, copies of invoices. If you are not given access to documentation requested with one month the service charges are not payable until the law is complied with.

    Having said that I would suggest you continue to pay whatever you can afford, send regular cheques by recorded delivery - the management company is unlikely to refuse to cash the cheque.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • ukclarkkent
    ukclarkkent Posts: 156 Forumite
    i've lived in a managed property(1 flat in a block of 16 on an estate of 8 blocks) for about 6 yrs. all managed by peverel om. my service charge has increased year on year(it seems). this year is has come down £10 to about £110 a month. this charge includes my water consumption and is calculated on the sq ft area of my flat.

    i know i should speak to them about this but it was sooooo frustrating in the beginning as everything was about how much money they were getting from me for nothing.

    i'm a single bloke so in theory should use less water than a couple living in the same size flat. can i get some kind of refund for the amount i've paid but not used? maybe i'll take some calming pills before phoning them up one day but i doubt they do jars that large.

    p.s. i've got the original water meeting reading that was taken on the day i moved in.
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    i know i should speak to them about this but it was sooooo frustrating in the beginning as everything was about how much money they were getting from me for nothing.

    i'm a single bloke so in theory should use less water than a couple living in the same size flat. can i get some kind of refund for the amount i've paid but not used? maybe i'll take some calming pills before phoning them up one day but i doubt they do jars that large.

    p.s. i've got the original water meeting reading that was taken on the day i moved in.

    It doesn't sound like you know what you are paying for, have you been supplied with a breakdown of the service charges? Until you know how much you are being charged for water (or anything else for that matter), you don't know if it is reasonable or not. It seems odd that water is included in your service charges when you have a separate meter. :confused: Deal with the managing agents in writing not by telephone.
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • dmg24
    dmg24 Posts: 33,925 Forumite
    Fire_Fox wrote: »
    It doesn't sound like you know what you are paying for, have you been supplied with a breakdown of the service charges? Until you know how much you are being charged for water (or anything else for that matter), you don't know if it is reasonable or not. It seems odd that water is included in your service charges when you have a separate meter. :confused: Deal with the managing agents in writing not by telephone.

    I would agree with this, the inclusion of your water charges in the service charge does seem odd. I also agree to put everything in writing, and don't be afraid to invoke the complaints procedure!

    One (the only?) good thing that Peverel offer is the facility to check your account online. If you Google Peverel and Avenue it should take you to the site.

    I'm tempted to take back what I said about the Leasehold Advisory Service. I have spoken with someone today that really didn't know what he was doing, and got extremely defensive when I (very politely ;) ) asked if he could find out! :o
    Gone ... or have I?
  • dmg24
    dmg24 Posts: 33,925 Forumite
    LucyLiu wrote: »
    Just a quick note - if your are unemployed, sick or a pensioner, you can claim for your service charge and MAJOR WORKS bills from the Government. It's a bit of a well kept secret, and I had a battle, but especially for pensioners, you need to know.

    Low income groups may be able to get help with service charges under the Income Support/ Mortgage Interest scheme. If anybody needs any further information on eligibility, feel free to post on the Benefits board. ;)
    Gone ... or have I?
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    dmg24 wrote: »
    Low income groups may be able to get help with service charges under the Income Support/ Mortgage Interest scheme. If anybody needs any further information on eligibility, feel free to post on the Benefits board. ;)

    Is this new? I looked into the benefits situation about 18 months ago and was clearly told that I would only be entitled to Jobseekers Allowance (£260 a month) and no allowance could be made for service charges (£160 a month!). I no longer live alone and I didn't need to go onto benefits after all but you never know in the future ...
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
  • tonycree
    tonycree Posts: 40 Forumite
    well, this post should be interesting because I have been saying to my council,who I bought my property from, that their service charges are outrageous, not fair and don't even add up.
    They are Kirkless, in W. Yorks.
    They are charging me, every quarter, for an intercom system that is not connected, I don't want connecting but is obviously part of the security system
    and their get-out is that I benefit from the secure door, which the intercom is part of. I benefited from the old door without the intercom system by putting my key in it.
    So I'm being charged for something I didn't order, don't want, isn't connected and doesn't give me any extra security.
    In fact it would be extra hassle 'cos the kids ring the bells, hoping someone will open up, so they can make short-cuts.
    Many other issues with this service charge system that leaseholders get saddled with.
  • Thank you Newbie for your message about getting help from the goverment with services charges if you have to have major work done?


    Please can you tell me more about this? I would be very greatful.
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