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    • B_Binks_737
    • By B_Binks_737 4th Feb 17, 1:00 AM
    • 2Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Freehold services charges - what are my rights?
    • #1
    • 4th Feb 17, 1:00 AM
    Freehold services charges - what are my rights? 4th Feb 17 at 1:00 AM

    I moved into my new build (freehold) property in January 2015 and was fully aware that I would be charged a service charge by the developer for the upkeep of the private estate (which consists of a couple of lamps and bushes in a tiny cul-de-sac). My agreement says that this charge will consist of a fixed 5 and a variable charge representing a fair and proper proportion of the developer's expenses, payable bi-annually on 1st Jan and 1st July each year.

    Despite none of the other 9 residents ever having seen the developer perform any sort of maintenance, I paid the first two installments in respect of the 2015 year without question as I didn't really want any grief and the amounts were fairly small.

    However, since the payment in July 2015 (for 6 months in advance) I received no further invoices from the builder. I didn't query this as there was definitely no maintenance being done to communal areas as the agreement suggested (the residents are now doing this themselves).

    Then a couple of months ago a bulb went in a street light which meant our private parking area was in complete darkness and was becoming dangerous in winter weather. So we contacted the builder and asked he replace the bulb. This took him a couple of months and surprise surprise the day the bulb was replaced we all received invoices for service charges covering the period from July 2015 to July 2017!

    Firstly, I will of course be challenging the fact he's asked me for fees covering the six months from July 2015 that I've already been invoiced for. Secondly, the amount seems disproportionately high given all he's done in the last two years is change a bulb so I will be asking for a breakdown of costs.

    However, my main query is this; even if we can agree the amount is reasonable can he demand payment for two years worth of fees when the agreement says they will be payable bi-annually? He has definitely raised no other invoices over this two year period. I suppose we could have chased him for an invoice but given no work was being done I really don't think this was the residents' responsibility. And I didn't want to just pay amounts in line with the previous fees as I can't second guess what the variable part of the charge will amount to and for all I know his bank details may have changed!

    The man is notoriously disorganised and has for the last two years been working on a bigger, more profitable development so I feel it's very unjustified to ask us for a large payment of unexplained charges in one go because he's neglected to send us invoices over the last 18 months! Do we have a valid case here?

    Any advice or second opinions would be much appreciated!

    Many thanks

Page 2
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Feb 18, 9:42 AM
    • 7,652 Posts
    • 7,785 Thanks
    I think it's a pretty safe bet that they will not cut your grass.
    Originally posted by Mickygg
    They might, as I have encountered newbuild developments where everyone owns their front gardens but the grass-cutting is arranged communally.
    • shelagh218
    • By shelagh218 8th Mar 18, 10:07 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    When do servie charges start
    We have recently moved into a new development - large developer but he is running massively over on site - site will be 49 houses and 11 apartments but still a way off - e moved in Feb 2017.
    We were aware that there would be a managing agent for communal and unadopted areas and paid an initial contribution at completion - no ground works etc have been done since e moved in and we only got limited street lighting December 2017 - site not likely to be completed until Summer 2018.
    We have had several requests from the managing agents for service charge and the residents have met with them and asked:

    1. Copies of accounts - draft copies issued this week backdated to October 2016
    2. Copies only sent to a few residents and not all despite agent having all occupier details
    3. Developer in a separate email about drains has advised as of 07/03/18 site not yet handed to agent and developer still liable

    If item 3 is correct then surely:

    1. Managing agent can create scheme etc but any charges for set up for period up to developer formally handing over should be attributable and re-charged to the developer.
    2. Any funds received by the managing agents from occupiers at practical completion of their homes should be held as reserve funds and only drawn upon for any works/fees occurred post handover

    Befor I start challenging anyone can anyone offer any opion. We are not wanting to withold any payments for legitimate fees/costs incurred but do feel that if the site has not yet been handed to the developer then we shoujd not pay until done so.
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