Service Charges in your Building

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Thursday 16 June 2005 6.29am
I would be very grateful to know from anyone and everyone what their service charges are. The reason is not because I'm just nosy but because we in Metro Central Heights have really ASTRONOMICAL charges. But really. However, in order to get something done about this, we have to have some sort of comparison with what other people are paying and for what. We are a building of 420 Flats. We have a 24 hour concierge (not, of course , the same one!). We have a cleaner in each block (there are four). We have a (rather ropey) gym and a pool. We have a rather sweet courtyard with a fish pond. We have an undergroud parking lot and an above ground parking lot (which is going to be neutralised by St.George with a 16 storey block) but it is on a first come first serve basis.. We do not get heating or hot water, the building is terribly shabby, and, as I said there are 420 flats. The average service charge is, I would say, around 3,500 quid. The smaller flats a bit less, our flat which is the largest but not large (1,500 squ.ft) is 7,000 quid PLUS a year!! And this is NOT Mayfair or Belgravia. We want to challenge our managing agents, Peverel, on this, but we need hard facts. If you would be so good as to either put up on this site or PM me, it would be VERY helpful. Thanks
Thursday 16 June 2005 7.44am

Does seem steep.

One thing which might be inflating the figure is the sinking fund.

It always struck me that the conversion job was done on the cheap (sorry!), and that the windows and exterior decorations were going to need to be done sooner rather than later. For this, they will need to be putting aside some serious cash each year to build up to the amount required for the works.

I guess your best bet is to get a copy of the accounts and run it past an ARLA/RICS managing agent. Not sure, but Frederick Holt in Pratt Walk do building surveying, and may be able to provide some independent advice, or at least refer you to the right place.

Regards,

Loafer
Thursday 16 June 2005 8.24am
We do indeed have a sinking fund, which, against the regulations, is just being kept, without being programmed which is what should be done. For example the exterior painting, which is years overdue, and keeps being put off by the managing agents because of the possible building of the St.George in the car park and then it will be because of the Elephant Regeneration works (all of these, you understand, make a lot of dust and mess...but SO WHAT? There are plenty of self cleaning coatings on the market and it's not a valid excuse...twenty years from now it will be just the same at this rate). You are right, it was converted on the cheap, very shoddily but there you go....St.George are a profiteering and unscrupulous outfit, as are our managing agents Peverel (they are kind of in cahoots too).
Thursday 16 June 2005 9.04am
All

Slightly off-topic but.......

Not too long ago the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published a document on the subject of service charges (probably still on their web site). In the introduction in stated quite c learly that service charges were the No.1 cause of relationship breakdown between tenant/leaseholder and landlord/freeholder/manager.

Get a copy of the RICS document and see if it offers any guidance. But don't hold your breath because managing agents tend to be members of...........the RICS.

Regards

Niall
Thursday 16 June 2005 9.10am

Jackie,

This is a very good summary of your rights and how to get the service charges reviewed under law, or to change the managing agent.

http://www.lease-advice.org/lvtsmain.htm

Regards,

Loafer
Thursday 16 June 2005 2.24pm
I have indeed been to the Leasehold Advisory Service, they are terrific, gave me an hour's free consultation (is this a record???). However, in order to challenge our service charges( they were as shocked as anyone at the levels of charges in our building and they deal with this sort of thing every day, for heaven's sake) we must get facts to substantiate that they are way out of line. Which is why we need YOU TO TELL US WHAT YOUR CHARGES ARE!!
Thursday 16 June 2005 4.37pm
Given the nature of Alexander Fleming House (Edited to add: sorry, Metro Central Heights, force of habit), i.e. both age, height and method of construction, are other private apartment blocks in SE1 the only/best comparator?

I'm aware that leaseholders of some 12-14 storey blocks in Lambeth (the chunky pentangular concrete ones that are now pastel coloured) have had total bills for exterior refurbishment and lift replacement approaching 30,000, for which sinking funds had not been established, and many have had to remortgage.

(Their new lifts are incredibly fast and reliable, and I suspect the value of their flats has almost certainly been increased by something approaching twice that amount as a result of the improvements, so I didn't have too much sympathy.)

Perhaps worth investigating with LA leaseholder groups,





Edited 1 times. Last edit at 16 June 2005 4.38pm by Lang Rabbie.
Thursday 16 June 2005 4.54pm
Well, Rabbie, if we could have that sort of refurbishment for so little money it would be lovely...but I doubt it. Our sinking fund has MUCH more than that in it. BUT, I still need to hear from some of you as to WHAT ARE YOU PAYING AND WHAT ARE YOU GETTING FOR IT??????
Thursday 16 June 2005 5.39pm
Jackie - are you saying that the MCH sinking fund currently has 420 lots of 30,000 sitting in it = 12 1/2 million !!!
Thursday 16 June 2005 6.12pm
1,900 pa for a 2 bed flat of about 800sq ft in a small block of 12 - no concierge - allocated space in a ground floor garage - no gym etc. Cleaned once a week. Countrywide Property management.
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