7th February 2017 at 21:31 #4155webjamesParticipant
I have recently purchased a property as part of this the service charge account has to be cleared of any outstanding balance. The issue was that the Better Homes program estimate had been added to the service charge account as an ‘invoice’.
I attended the last forum session in the Council Chambers and I remember this being discussed towards the end of the session. A gentleman raised the point that the estimate had the words ‘invoice’ at the top of the page, and the council had chased for payment even though payment wasn’t due until the commencement of works.
Therefore in order to purchase the property Camden required that I cleared the outstanding service charge account. I paid the ~£3k for the ‘RPK/95 – Better Homes Externals’ and ‘RPK/87 – Fire Risk Assessment Works’.
I understand although I have paid this it is yet to be surveyed and finally quoted.
Further to this I have checked the listed blocks which are covered within the External Better Homes Programme – my block is not listed. It is however listed under the Better Homes Spring Clean Programme. I have asked for clarification from firstname.lastname@example.org but so far haven’t received a reply to my enquiry.
Has anyone else got experience of a similar situation? I was hoping that they could provide details of what the various programmes are and in the short term if they could refund the amount paid for the Better Home External and then send an estimate for the Better Homes Spring Clean Programme whenever that is started.
James7th February 2017 at 22:22 #4158TardigradeParticipant
It will probably help others if you say where you bought. I’m in the process of buying, so could be wrong, but have learned that, I think, this programme affects a whole load of blocks/properties, so it is likely to include you, and failing that, it also seems custom to spread charges amongst both people that benefit for things and those that don’t. eg ground floor pays for elevators, and everyone pays for playgrounds etc. Bottom line you probably have to pay it!8th February 2017 at 09:58 #4171GerryMcLeanParticipant
I have been a leaseholder in Camden for more than fifteen years. When I first bought, Capital Services (or the equivalent then) was reasonably responsive and you could trust what they said, even if you disagreed with it. In the last eight years however, CS has become unreliable and or uncommunicative. On more than one occasion I have been given assurances by CS staff, in front of witnesses, that it then reneged on. On other occasions it has claimed that work has been inspected and completed satisfactorily when it has either not been done, or has patently failed. Most often however, it simply fails to respond to queries. These problems may be related to the well publicised scandals involving CS staff taking bribes to certify work that had not actually been done; the CNJ has been reporting this issue: see http://www.camdennewjournal.com/camdenhousingfraud and http://www.camdennewjournal.com/fraudprobe
I would recommend that you either a. ask a councillor to raise the query for you, or b. copy in your councillor to any correspondence.8th February 2017 at 10:18 #4173webjamesParticipant
Thanks Tardigrade/GerryMcLean – I don’t mind paying for upkeep etc (assuming it is done to a good standard) – the confusion is that there are several ‘Better Homes’ Programmes, and they seemed to have changed the schedule of works since the invoice was raised.
You can find out which blocks are involved in which programme here:
The invoice/estimate which I paid was for the External Better Homes Programme, however my block (B00027) is not listed as part of this programme any more, however it is listed as part of the Better Homes Spring Clean Programme.
I have however since heard back from the council –
Due to the late running of the programme [READ: Better Homes Externals (communal repairs and decoration) and Fire Risk Assessment works], these works have now been cancelled. As no works have been carried out this financial year, your estimate demand will be adjusted to zero, in the September 2017 actual service charge.
They will also be refunding the amount paid. They go on to say that..
The Fire Risk Assessment works have been reprogrammed for the financial year 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018 and you will receive an estimate demand in March 2017.
Needless to say – I wont be paying an invoice early again, though in this case the council were responsive and reasonable. I believe the balance is only due on the commencement of works.
Thanks for your help.
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