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Peverel OM - Shared ownership at Salamanca Place, Albert Embankment - 146% service charge increase!!!

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Saturday 27 January 2007 9.50pm
I can hardly believe the MCH service charge costs 8000 a year. That is over 150 a week. Surely you could rent a flat in that building for that price, and not have to pay mortgage / lose interest on capital on top of that. I am struggling to believe that a building in Elephant and Castle has a higher service charge than any i've ever heard of in much, much nicer areas of London! I'm sure there are plenty which are higher, but when I'm looking in estate agents windows in Marylebone or Fitzrovia, the service charges are barely half that, but the property there is so much more valuable.
Saturday 27 January 2007 10.30pm
Jackie omits to mention that service charge at MCH is based on square footage of your flat and that she happens to live in one of the largest flats in the building.
Saturday 27 January 2007 10.55pm
Yes... she certainly omitted that! In fact, when she talked about the million quid penthouses, she made it sound distinctly as if she wasn't one of the people living in one of those! Still, though, it seems rather a lot for the area.
Sunday 28 January 2007 10.46am
Jackie does pay a lot, but, so do we all. And it is based on sqft.
I have a 2 bed 2 bath and my service charge is fast approaching 3k a year.
When I bought in March 2005, it was 2400.
The building has improved a lot in my opinion recently- we have lovely flower arrangements at the concierge desk, and we have really nice, friendly staff at the desk.We are also having the building exterior repainted finally and it is looking great.
Having said that, I still wonder what on earth Peverel do with the money. I had to 'declare' when I got a cat- and they charged me 54 'admin fee' for telling them.
I was LIVID! I wrote and told them if it cost 54 for 30 seconds work filing a form at Head Office, could I have a job please- alternatively I offered to go and file it for them myself. They could not explain it and in fact, when I refused to pay, added it to my service charge and took it from my direct debit.
Sunday 28 January 2007 12.28pm
Yes, I'm not defending them - I have written so many unanswered letters I have lost count.
This case at Salamanca place does seem incredibly unreasonable.
Sunday 28 January 2007 4.33pm
OK I have a bigger flat, but it's not THAT big. It's three bedrooms not two. And I paid for it too! My purchase price was far more than anyone else's. But I'm not getting any more service than anyone else. The "beautiful flowers in the entrance" Sarah are put there by the flower shop who supplies them once a week as free advertising. Not anything to do with the management I'm afraid. Yes the building is being painted (not all that well) from the sinking fund to which we have been contributing for years - and they will still have more than half a million quid in it when they've done the painting. I cannot see what is any better? The concierges are the concierges, and there are far fewer of them than there used to be (Sarah doesnt remember she wasnt there at that time). And whatever anyone says, eight thousand quid a year is a HUGE amount...and I havent even got a lift to my floor. I know people living in FAR grander flats in FAR swankier neighbourhoods who arent paying anything like what I'm paying and cannot believe that my service charge has almost doubled in three/four years.
Sunday 28 January 2007 10.51pm
I dont know how many times this has to be repeated Jackie, but the amount of service charge you pay does not entitle you to more 'service. Its simply decided by your square footage and you have one of the largest, if not THE largest flat in the building.
The concierges were cut a while back in an effort to contain costs, so you cant complain about there not being enough of them while also saying your charge is too high.
Anyway, we should get back to the point of this thread...
Monday 29 January 2007 6.07am
Well then it's not reasonable to charge according to square footage if, say, heating or hot water are not supplied. If I was heating twice the space or using hot water for five people rather than one for example it would be sensible. BUt since neither hot water nor heating is supplied, what is the relevance of the size of the flat? And the exponential increase is just ridiculous. Please will someone tell me who else is paying eight thousand quid for very mediocre service? My flat is 1200 squ. foot. Please will someone from Mayfair or Kensington tell me if they are paying that amount?
Monday 29 January 2007 10.16am
My block in SE1 has what I consider to be large service charges at approx 4 per square foot, and mine have been checked against bills. This includes central heating! 24hr security etc. I can say that square footage is a legally recognised way of judging service charges, don't bother going to a LVT on this part of the charge,like council rates, it is to do with the potential of your flat, ie: a larger flat could have more residents. However you are entitled to go to your landlord's offices and see invoices and paperwork pertaining to the service charge ( and take copies for a reasonable fee), if they refuse take them straight to the LVT.! I hope you are not including the costs of section 20 notices to paint, decorate, repair etc in your service charge calculations as they are extra and may mislead us as to the true yearly square footage figure?
Monday 29 January 2007 11.14am
A quick search on Foxtons would indicate that a comparably sized flat in Mayfair:

http://www.foxtons.co.uk/search?md5=d2c8dfb0e01f33e3e70528791e61a32f&search_form=map&per_page=10&order_by=price%20desc&search_type=SS&property_id=4050&submit_type=search

(actually a 3 bedroom, but smaller than yours) pays around 4000 per year.

I would presume that one of the reasons they charge per sq foot is because generally speaking larger flats contain more people and thus cause more wear and tear. But then again I have no idea about leasehold etc. You could consider going to a lawyer, at least for a discussion about the issues involved.
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