Service Charges: You Said, We Did

We recently undertook a resident led audit which looked at various aspects of how we manage your service charges. In general we had really positive feedback from this, showing much of what we do is good.

However, the resident auditors did mention some things they thought we could improve. Here’s what they said, and what we’re doing about it:

You Said:

“We want a new simpler policy to outline how you manage the Service Charge process.”

We Did:

We developed and updated our service charge policy in clearer terms (and included a review date and document owner)

You Said:

“Can you provide clear guidance on the service charge cycle and that the charges vary from year to year?”

We Did:

We have produced a simplified guide to the service charge annual cycle, advising when key events happen and also confirming that charges are subject to change depending on the services provided.  We have also begun to update our Home Owner handbook (for new owners) to ensure they have access to this simplified guidance.

 

You Said:

“Can you tell us about your experiences at Leasehold Valuation tribunals in the past 3 years and what lessons you have learnt?”

We Did:

We have only had 2 cases in the past 3 years. In both cases we were able to resolve the matter successfully and we learned that we needed to communicate more clearly with residents as our terminology and processes are not always easily understood. 

 

You Said:

“We want to know if you can provide individual sinking fund statements to residents.”

We Did:

We are currently developing a draft sinking fund statement, which has now received agreement from the auditors.

You Said:

“Can you clarify the term ‘audit’ which is used whenever you issue the annual balancing charge.”

We Did:

We provided an explanation of the term as agreed by our external auditors. We are now considering changing the term from ‘audit’ to ‘auditors fee’ as they do not conduct a formal audit but they do verify that we charge for actual costs incurred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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