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Southwark Council service charges

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Monday 30 March 2009 11.39am
Just received the 2009/2010 sercvice charges, over 2,100!!!

Are other leaseholders paying this much?

It's infuriating to see the building get more run down as the years pass and yet Southwark Council have the nerve to increase the service charges.

Is there some sort of ombudsman for council service charges to whom disputes can be referred?
Monday 30 March 2009 11.47am
There used to be a southwark right to buy leaseholders association, perhaps if they took the question of service charges up en masse some action would be taken?
Monday 30 March 2009 11.48am
There used to be a southwark right to buy leaseholders association, perhaps if they took the question of service charges up en masse some action would be taken? i dont think Barking s/c's are as bad my friend pays 20 a week for a lovely one bed flat..
Monday 30 March 2009 6.03pm
My service charge has increased year on year with no real improvement in service and no justification of the increase (never related to inflation). What is really annoying is the 10% management charge; as the service charge increases so does the management charge - and yet the amount of administration has not increased! Does your service charge include heating and hot water? And, what size flat. I have a one bedroom flat, background heating and hot water - my service charge for next year is 1,739.
Tuesday 31 March 2009 7.29am
The 2,100 does include heating and hot water and we do have two lifts in the building which I know adds to the cost.

In the meantime, I've contacted the Housing Ombudsman to see if they can offer any help.
Tuesday 31 March 2009 8.31am
Yep mine was a big hike this year and I live on Guiness Trust Estate. Its well above the rate of inflation.
Tuesday 31 March 2009 2.35pm
Ours also has increased by 300.00, we are in St Saviours Estate. You are right about the administration costs being a percentage and not a fixed fee, it seems unfair. We are also being asked on top of our SC to pay up for major works later in the year!
Tuesday 31 March 2009 4.25pm
I just received a "revised bill" for 2007/8 that added 50% to the original estimate and I have to pay that by April 18.

2008/9 was roughly the same as the original 2007/8 estimate, so should I expect another invoice for the increase in March next year?

Now the bill for 2009/10 is again 50% higher, similar to the revised 2007/8 figure. The service I receive certainly has not improved by 50% !!!

very poor service.
Wednesday 1 April 2009 8.50am
I posted yesterday but it disappeared somewhere...
The good news is that residential service charge payers are very heavily protected by good legislation.
Any landlord has to prove what was spent and send you (within six months of year-end) an annual statement of actual spend versus estimated spend. You then have the right to ask to see all of the invoices relating to the spend. If the LL doesn't do that then you must get in touch with the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (a court, part of RPTS), which costs about 50 and scares landlords silly. See for lots of (quite dull) information.

Oohhh and there is something called the "18-month rule" whereby all costs for (e.g.) 2007-08 must be invoiced by 30 September 2008. Service charges get a little murky here as there are section 20b notices that can be served, but the main legislation is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 - quote these to your landlord in any correspondance and they will take you seriously.
Sunday 5 April 2009 9.39am
Without wanting to repeat myself, there's more on the other service charges thread

@JohnBoy - if you're getting heating and hot water and lifts then 2100 sounds about right, sadly.

If you want to challenge the costs then first you should go to Southwark's Home Ownership Unit (in Larcom Street), ask for a breakdown of your charges. (they should be able to show receipts for each and every repair you're asked to contribute to) If you were charged for something you didn't get ask them to take the charge off - I've known people this has worked for.

If you don't get satisfaction from HOU you can go to an independent Leaseholder Valuation Tribunal, who will look at the facts of your case and make a binding judgement.

There is a representative body for leaseholders - the Leaseholder Council

hope this is useful
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