Service charges – questions to the Council
Leaseholders might be interested in the following questions which have been raised with the Council.
Increase in electricity charges
The 2015/16 service charges for the Alton Estate highlighted an actual cost for the block and estate electricity which was much higher than expected. When queried with the Council the following response was provided on Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 15:23 –
“There has been a relatively high increase in this years service charges for lighting. This is due to the costs incurred by the Council from the electricity company. You may have noticed that service charges for the most recent years previous to 2015/16 have been somewhat low. This is due to the electricity company under billing the Council. This year however, the electricity company have risen the cost to include a back payment for the years that they did not charge an increase on. You will note from your Summary of Costs that the estimate for lighting for the period of 2016/17 is lower then this years, as it is expected the Council will not be billed such a high amount”.
The questions I have are:
1) I don’t recall having received notification of this situation. Was there any such notification provided to leaseholders?
2) If there was, please provide the exact text and the document from which it comes?
3) If there wasn’t any notification, what are the reasons?
Page 11 of the ‘Service charges explained 2016’ (http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/file/2781/your_service_charges_explained ) refers to ‘Management expenses’. Given that on the service charge ‘Summary of Costs’ there is one figure which aggregates all costs for this item;
4) Please provide a full itemised costing of how the charges are broken down. For instance, what is the cost charged to leaseholders for “sending out service charge bills” and “dealing with leaseholder queries”?
5) How often are these expenses reviewed?
Minor works commission fee
On the same page it refers to ‘minor works commission fee’.
As a percentage of the estate and block costs this feed makes up a considerable percentage of the costs. For instance, the estate and block cost repair it was 22.45% in 2014/15 and 27.65% in 2015/16.
6) Please provide a full itemised costing of how the charges are broken down. For instance, what is the cost charged to leaseholders for each of the “technical”, “supervisory” and “administrative costs” associated with repairs and maintenance works?
7) How often are these expenses reviewed?
- Service charges – ever had a good look at them?
- Alton Estate ‘repair’ service charges 2014-15 – provides background to the service charge cost for Alton Estate repairs.
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