After over two years of campaigning we’ve had a big success for MTVH leaseholders. Now every household pays the same for internal cleaning and external cleaning is based on the property’s rateable value. This is a big improvement from the old haphazard system of allocating charges.
It all began with a public meeting in September 2019. Various leaseholders had raised concerns about service charges that didn’t seem transparent. We agreed to create a google sheet of what everyone’s charged were (see here, check the 2019 tab) to check we were all paying the same
And we weren’t. It 2019 some households were paying £151 for internal cleaning and others more than twice that. There seemed to be no transparency and to who paid what.
So in 2020 we tried demanding receipts for the service charges (as is our right under section 22 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985). But we found “Metropolitan receipts were useless – they say how much is being paid for the entire estate but not how much is being paid for each block”
So in February 2021 we had a public meeting with MTVH. MTVH proposed “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. [The] aim is apply a reasonable methodology with a degree of logic too”. It looked like we were making progress
Except MTVH missed the deadline so we encouraged leaseholders to complain. Then by August 2021 MTVH agreed to rectify past discrepancies but make future service charges even less transparent . So again we encourages leaseholders to complain
So finally, MTVH have submitted transparent service charges. For 2021 everyone pays the same for internal cleaning and external cleaning is considered an estate wide cost. This means how much a leaseholder pays is based on the rateable value of their property (larger properties pay more than smaller ones). This is a big improvement over the old haphazard system.
We need to make sure the Internal Cleaning charges are comparable to other council estates. If they’re not we can challenge MTVH as “The landlord should charge no more than the going rate” for services. If you have any friends who live on broadly comparable estates please ask them to forward their service charge statement to us (here are our contact details)