I was reading some other comments about issues at LM Court and Gross Fine's management approach. I've lived there some time and (don't think) I've ever had a key to the electricity meter room in the communal hallway. I rang Gross Fine to see if I could get one (having got tired of estimated readings) to be told that this is a householder matter as they don't hold keys. Surely this can't be right as the meter is in a communal space? Anybody got any ideas about getting a key?
I saw the title of this post, and my heart sank: "here we go again", I thought!
So far as I am aware, the freeholder (and hence Gross Fine as representatives of the freeholder) will have legal responsibility for all the common parts of your building. If your meter shares a cupboard with at least one other household, the freeholder has a duty of care to ensure that the cupboard concerned does not constitute a hazard to health and safety (i.e.) is secure (lockable) but that access to the meter can be obtained by the households concerned. Strictly speaking, GF may never have held the keys (because they have not always been managing agents), and may not hold keys (as a matter of policy), but that doesn't mean that they're (on the freeholder's behalf) not responsible for making sure you have a key. Also, I think I'm right in saying that your electricity supplier will only go so long in issuing an estimated bill.
On the other hand, if each individual flat has its own meter cupboard, then I think it probably is a householder matter (regardless of whether the meter cupboard is positioned in a communal space). Are you the leaseholder? When I bought my flat, I took possession of a whole bundle of keys - postbox, communal front door, meter cupboard etc. - but then I don't imagine all vendors are as fastidious as mine and I know that the only way that some of my neighbours have been able to gain access to their postboxes, say, is to break into them!
Once you've worked out whether your meter cupboard is communal or not, I think you have a number of options:
If the meter cupboard isn't communal and you're a tenant, get your landlord to pay for a locksmith (it'll be in their interest too)
If the meter cupboard isn't communal and you're a leaseholder, pay for a locksmith
If the meter cupboard is communal and you're a tenant, get your landlord to put pressure on GF to supply a key (or take steps to ensure you get one - see below)
If the meter cupboard is communal and you're a leaseholder, put pressure on GF to supply a key (or take steps to ensure you get one - see below)
With regard to the latter two options, your electricity provider may be able to provide advice OR, even, apply pressure themselves. Moreover, perhaps you could suggest to GF that all they need to do is agree that they'll cover the costs of the locksmith providing you take care of all the arrangements.
I hope this is helpful and good luck! It begs the question - what does GF do??
The electricity meters are in communal cupboards in the stairwells of each building. Each flat, at the time of original sale by the developers, was given a key to these cupboards. These are simple easily available bayonet style keys. The electricity meter reading shouldn't be estimated as the reader will have 1 of these keys with them. If the reader cannot get access to the building then they will not be able to read the meter....not because they can't access the cupboard.
Thanks for the advice guys. When I first moved in - from memory - there was a different lock on the communal door to the meter cupboard. And it was always open anyway. I will check with Atlantic who supply my electricity. But I am still surprised Gross Fine say they don't hold keys, particularly if they are standard bayonet keys. Failing that it's ask a neighbour.
Chris, if it's the kind of key I think it is, you can buy spares at B&Q. And they're not expensive, so maybe you could earn yourself lots of brownie points by treating the neighbours to one each as well ;)
If the lock has been changed then whoever did that should have had the nous to give everyone a copy. And, ultimately, the freeholder/GF is responsible for that cupboard (e.g. in terms of ensuring the emergency service etc. can gain access) so I agree - why don't GF hold a key??
andy, I'm with you, they are all gross and no fine. I too have been chasing GF for weeks, just about to email them yet again. They, or more specifically, she, almost never bothers to get back to me. The real disgrace is that if allowed, I could "manage" my own domestic affairs, ie make a few simple phone calls, but instead I have to wait ad nauseam for these people to "manage" for me, all because they want to maintain the illusion that we need them. The only thing they seem to manage well is their extraction of a service charge ! Thoroughly fed up with this farce.
GF now tells me that once they have asked the contractor to carry out the work they have done the job.This is not of much help if the contractor does not contact me.On recontacting GF I am told the "dog ate the order" and they were replacing the order.On recontacting GF again 2 weeks ago they enquire of the contractor who informs them that he needs to order the item and GF informs me of this.7 weeks have passed since initial contact.
As vicd has brilliantly stated:-
" The real disgrace is that if allowed, I could "manage" my own domestic affairs, ie make a few simple phone calls, but instead I have to wait ad nauseam for these people to "manage" for me."