At our public meeting on 24th March Metropolitan promised more transparent service charges for leaseholders. But there’s still more work to be done
Present : 9 residents, Guests : Kay Williams (Regional Service Charge Manager for southern region), Cllr Ben Kind
Kay is the regional service charge manager for south region. She is responsible for:
- Setting the service charges
- Ensuring it is compliant.
- Preparing estimates and reconciliation.
- Checking the costs are apportioned correctly and charged to the correct block.
Ben is a local councillor. He has been working with leaseholder service charges since he became a councillor eight years ago. He said if do see something on final accounts that looks suspicious you should always query it and never accept it. He says he rarely gets queries about service charge from Lambeth Council leaseholders, only from Housing Association leaseholders.
Kay admitted there was a problem. She said some blocks of approximately 24 units were charged £7,000 for internal cleaning, others are only charged £3,000 for internal cleaning. She hopes to correct this for the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 financial year. In subsequent correspondence she is “proposing to send you [the residents association] a draft of the review first week in June, plus provide an explanation to how the figures have been reached. My aim is apply a reasonable methodology with a degree of logic too” [Update: As of 19th July 2021 the secretary has heard nothing except excuses for delay. We’re asking MTVH leaseholders to complain]
The cleaning contract is being re tendered. Kay hopes there will be more transparency with the new contract.
Service Charge Transparency
Terry said some work was reported as done but not done and he wanted to make sure he was not charged for it. But the service charge statements do not give enough detail to check this. And when Chris has requested receipts he’s just got figures for “Metworks London South D2D Dec 19”. He can’t relate those figures to an individual repair.
Kay will check with the procurement team to see if a further breakdown is possible. If the residents in question are not satisfied with the response we can escalate via Cllr Ben or the Leaseholder Advisory Service. Annalisa, Terry Cooper and Chris will investigate this further
Any Other Business
All tenants of the building have to contribute to the running costs such as lifts. This includes tenants of ground floor flats. This will be written in the lease
It can be possible to sell a flat without an EWS1 form (one resident in Kynaston House has managed it) but it’s hard. This isn’t something the St Martins TRA can help with as it affects so few people on the estate. But if anyone mentions the issue Chris will pass their contact details on to James. And James is liaising with our MP.
From April 2022 tenants will be charged for service charges in same format as leaseholders