Several residents have contacted us recently about big increases in their estimated service charges. Some Metropolitan residents on our estate have won discounts in their service charges by following this advice. If you’re affected this is what we advise you
Firstly, if you have last year’s service charge statement it’s worth checking exactly which areas have increased significantly. So, for example, in the case of one resident the main increase is in internal cleaning which has gone up 16% from £375 to £434. Email your landlord to ask why. Your landlords contact details are:
- For Metropolitan – email@example.com
- For Optivo contact Michelle.Emery@optivo.org.uk
- For Notting Hill contact firstname.lastname@example.org (if you live in Challice Way), email@example.com (if you live in High Trees) or Donna.Powell@nhhg.org.uk (if you live in another part of the estate)
Here is the text one resident used.
We received a letter dated February 2019 to indicate that the service charge would increase from £BLANK per month to £BLANK from April 1st 2019 for my property at BLANK
This is quite a substantial increase given the small incremental increases that were previously under Metropolitan and then more recently by Optivo in 2018
Therefore I hope you can appreciate that we would like to understand how this rise has been calculated and what particular changes in costs have led to this. The summary of service and personal charges with the letter provides a break down but this does not demonstrate how these have changed.
We know Optivo have sent information and consulted us about changes to service providers over the past years, but these seemed to indicate the costs for the contracts for the whole estate but did not show how this related to personal leaseholder cost or how this has changed from the previous service provider.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Secondly, it’s worth comparing your service charge statement to other people in the same block. If you’re up for doing this contact us and we’ll put you in touch with your neighbours (we can’t divulge people’s contact details without their permission, but we can email them from the TRA account and ask if they want to get in touch).
The above might help a bit but our contact says it can be hard to challenge estimated service charges. When the statement with actual charges comes in late September we’ll be in a much better position to launch a campaign to ensure residents get value for money.