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  • FIRST POST
    • espritlibre87
    • By espritlibre87 7th Mar 18, 8:20 PM
    • 32Posts
    • 11Thanks
    espritlibre87
    Disputing 'estimated' service charge from 1 April
    • #1
    • 7th Mar 18, 8:20 PM
    Disputing 'estimated' service charge from 1 April 7th Mar 18 at 8:20 PM
    My partner and I purchased a new build property under Moat's shared ownership scheme last April. We have today received a letter informing us of an increase in rent and service charge effective from 1 April 2018.

    Rent: 508.75 --> 530.88
    Service charge: 228.68 --> 242.04
    Total monthly charge: 737.43 --> 772.91

    Whilst I am aware that rent increases year on year, and service charges are liable to do the same, it occurs to me that we honestly have no idea where this money is spent (mostly because, to be honest, the 'service' or lack thereof is abysmal, any reported issues take months to respond, or don't get fixed at all... but I digress)

    Moat has helpfully provided a list of 'estimated' service charges for 2018/19, which I've detailed below, but there is no breakdown of the actual costs or what these entail.

    Payment to managing agent: 107.70
    Payment to managing agent's homeowners: 80.89
    Ground rent 3rd party: 20.83
    Management charge at 5%: 9.43
    Managing agents man (management?) fees: 23.18

    Obviously this doesn't explain to us how our service charge was spent this past year, or what it is intended to be spent on from 1 April. I understand we can submit a request for a breakdown of costs for the past 12 months under S22 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, but does it matter that the new costs are only an estimate? If we don't feel the charges are proportionate or the funds used efficiently, would they argue that the new amount is based on a projection and therefore acceptable?

    Sorry in advance if the above makes no sense! This is the first property we've had to pay a service charge for so it's all pretty new. Essentially, we want to know where the money for the past year has been spent so we can consider whether the charges are proportionate. So is it best to go ahead and submit that S22 request, and then take it from there?
Page 1
    • espritlibre87
    • By espritlibre87 7th Mar 18, 8:29 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    espritlibre87
    • #2
    • 7th Mar 18, 8:29 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Mar 18, 8:29 PM
    Apologies, that should read Section 21, not Section 22
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 7th Mar 18, 9:15 PM
    • 6,326 Posts
    • 6,184 Thanks
    eddddy
    • #3
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:15 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:15 PM
    Is it a leasehold shared ownership property?

    If so, as you say, you can ask to see invoices etc for last year.

    Again, as you say, next year's fee is an estimate. If it's an over-estimate (or under-estimate), it will be adjusted at the end of the year - and you can see all the invoices at that time.

    It's frustrating if it does turn out to be an over-estimate, because your money is tied-up - but you won't lose any of it.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 7th Mar 18, 9:24 PM
    • 645 Posts
    • 659 Thanks
    HampshireH
    • #4
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:24 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:24 PM
    I wouldn't dispute it just yet.

    Makes more sense to ask for a breakdown of services first.

    You should also receive an account for what has been spent. Most housing associations will outline their service standard on their website in relation to the rent and service charge policy
    • wonderlondoner
    • By wonderlondoner 8th Mar 18, 9:58 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    wonderlondoner
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 18, 9:58 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Mar 18, 9:58 PM
    When I purchased my shared ownership flat my solicitor requested the previous year's service charge breakdown. This was a 6/7 page document that detailed cleaning, communal lighting, window cleaning etc. You might have received this information as part of conveyancing?

    After April of last year the housing association sent a breakdown of the service charge for the proceeding year. You should therefore be sent this information every year.
    • espritlibre87
    • By espritlibre87 10th Mar 18, 12:02 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    espritlibre87
    • #6
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:02 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:02 PM
    It's a new build, so we were the first to move in. I agree though that there should still be a clear breakdown each year.
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 10th Mar 18, 12:07 PM
    • 58,475 Posts
    • 51,848 Thanks
    Thrugelmir
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:07 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 18, 12:07 PM
    Accounting year doesn't end to the 31st March. Once the accounts are produced you'll have something on which to comment on.
    Financial disasters happen when the last person who can remember what went wrong last time has left the building.
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