We want to deliver an excellent service to our leaseholders, keep you informed and involve you in the work being undertaken to your building and/or the estate in which you live.
Leaseholder consultation and leaseholder involvement
We will develop the leaseholder panel to become a representative consultative body for all changes in processes and services relating to leaseholders. We will regularly ask leaseholders how we are doing and where we need to make improvements.
Involving you in the planning of major works
- improve our consultation with leaseholders on all planned and cyclical works programmes, including writing to leaseholders ahead of the legal consultation timescale to discuss with them the scope of the work
- inform leaseholders, as soon as possible, when urgent or emergency work is required, or has been carried out and we are seeking a contribution
- organise meetings for leaseholders, if they would like them, before work starts to their building
- produce and publish a seven-year plan for cyclical maintenance so that leaseholders can see when work is due to take place
- set out at the start of any project how contracts are decided and how we ensure they offer value for money
- provide estimated service charges before the start of the new financial year, so that home owners are aware of any proposed changes in service or charge levels, and can plan their finances accordingly
- review each part of the annual service charge, for example, cleaning, electricity and communal repairs with leaseholder representatives
- review the itemised bills so they are clearer, explaining how costs have been calculated and why leaseholders are being charged
- produce accurate and transparent service charge final accounts within six months of the end of the financial year, detailing the differences between the estimates and final costs incurred
- provide quarterly statements and invoices in accordance with the terms and conditions of your lease.
With the aim of making it easier for you to budget for major work, we will:
- invoice for major work once the work has started on site, rather than billing on estimated charges. This means you will never receive a bill for work that is subsequently delayed
- involve leaseholders in the scrutiny of major work, both during and on completion of a project
- make major works’ final invoices more in line with the estimated costs, by ensuring you never receive a final bill that is more than 20 per cent greater than the estimate
- offer 2.5 per cent discount on major works’ bills if paid in full within the specified time period
- provide a breakdown of costs for major works charges once the project is completed
- review and widely publicise the payment options that we offer including any interest free, or deferred, payment plans for major works bills. This includes help for leaseholders facing significant financial hardship by allowing them to spread the cost of larger bills (over £10,000) for up to ten years (with interest chargeable).
General enquiries and resolving issues
- write to new leaseholders, giving our contact details and offerering the opportunity to meet with us to discuss their rights and obligations
- have a clear disputes process whereby if there are common concerns amongst leaseholders relating to a particular project these can be considered by a panel of senior Council officers
- respond to queries and disputes on major bills within four weeks. This gives us time to consult widely, for example with surveyors and contractors to ensure a full response
- manage your enquiries efficiently, politely and fairly, respecting confidentiality and privacy
- respond to you enquiries within 10 working days , in complex cases, we will notify you within 10 working days of the additional time required to address your enquiry in full
- resolve any disputes or enquiries you may have with your bills, or with the services or repairs provided to your homes, using plain language where possible, including referral to independent experts where appropriate
- make ourselves available to you as far as is reasonably possible. This will include attending evening meetings, arranging home visits, at your convenience, in addition to being available during normal office hours
- where appropriate to our role as managing agent, represent home owners in discussions with the Council or other organisations
- where necessary, provide links with appropriate staff members in order to resolve enquiries
- treat everyone equally, without discrimination. If you have specific needs such as information in another language or format, we will aim to provide this.
- issue regular invoices and statements and provide you with up to date details and balances of your service charge account on request
- at the beginning of each financial year, provide you with an estimate for the day to day service charges and a payment plan for the forthcoming year, with various repayment options
- review the accounts of all home owners, taking action if any account falls into arrears
- let you know if you over pay your charges, resulting in a credit balance on your account, with the view to returning the over payment or helping you to plan for future charges.
Help us to improve our service to you
- Send us any additional information that we ask for to help us manage your property effectively and keep us in touch with you
- Provide us with annual gas safety certificates for any gas appliances you may have within your property
- If you sub-let your property, give us the contact details for your tenants and a copy of any agreements with them. This means we can contact the occupier easily if we need to, for example if a leak is reported which may be coming from their home
- Co-operate with us to help resolve individual issues by providing copies of any relevant correspondence and documents, such as letters to and from the Council, evidence of payments made, plus details and dates relating to the issues.
- Do not carry out internal or external structural alterations to your property without first getting our written consent (including window replacements, loft conversions, alterations to doorways). You may be in breach of your lease agreement.
- Keep important information that we send you such as your insurance policy details and Section 20 notices.
- Keep details of the person you have raised queries with so we can follow up issues easily.
- Give us notice if you would like to meet with one of our officers in a Council office so we can make sure they are available.
- Let us know when we have got things right and when we have things wrong. This will help us to improve our service.
- Pay your service charges and your major works charges when they are due.