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View Full Version : Can L charge T for non-existent services (CCTV)?



enty01
02-03-2010, 00:52 AM
Hello, I'm new here and hope someone could advise me.

I have lived in my current flat for almost 5 years. Each year our landord (Great Places) send us a letter detailing how our service charges are made up & list the items subject to the charge.

I have just received notification of my new service charge for April 2010 - March 2011.

When comparing this to the current years charges I have notice that I have been paying £2.20 per week for "CCTV etc" since April 2009.

Our building has NEVER had CCTV and it certainly doesn't have "etc" I have never seen this charge on any of my other service charge schedules - our building has 15 apartments.

The CCTV charge doesn't appear on my most recent schedule for the forthcoming year.

So this year I will have paid over £100 for something I have never had - do i have a case for requesting full reimbursment in respect of this aspect of the service charge?

Secondly, our building has a large postal box in the main reception - this is split into individual post boxes for each apartment with individual locks; However, over the past 2 or 3 moths we have had a problem with mail going missing (the police are aware of this) as mail in the letter boxes is easily accessible - just by placing your hand through the opening (the flaps on the outside of the boxes are useless) do we have a case for having normal letter boxes fitted to our front doors?

Many thanks for any help/advice

ram
02-03-2010, 09:22 AM
Our building has NEVER had CCTV do i have a case for requesting full reimbursment in respect of this aspect of the service charge?

do we have a case for having normal letter boxes fitted to our front doors?

Yes to all.
Do you mean greatplaces.org.uk ?

http://www.greatplaces.org.uk/ContactUs/Pages/Contactus.aspx

Of course you are entitled a refund, if you are being charged for something that is not available or has never been available ( no conections in your flat for cable T.V. )
In the past, we have had £ 2000 on the accounts for gas and electric, when everyone pays their own bills !

It is not uncommon for Managing agents to "Think" a complex has "cable T.V.", but in fact it's anther complex, and they put the figures against the wrong buildings.

easy to write to your landlord, stating your views above, and saying that you will be pleased to receive a refund cheque in 14 days for the error.

Similarly, write to the landlords stating that the letterboxes which are there to put mail in, and have a key so that no one else can access your mail, do not perform such a function, and mail is being easily stolen, and because of the design, you will hold them responsible for the theft of items from the useles letterboxes, as they are not fit for purpose, untill they replace them with letterboxes that are secure.

Because the letterboxes are probably expensive, don't expect them to replace them, but say you will charge them for your time, every time you have to call the police, and expences for mail going missing, if the problem is not rectified. Say you are expecting a few credit cards in the post shortly, and any theft of those items is totaly unacceptable, due to the design of the letter boxes.

ask nicely, about the problems, but dont let it slip.

R.a.M.

jeffrey
02-03-2010, 10:48 AM
Enty01: are you a long-leaseholder?

enty01
02-03-2010, 11:06 AM
Hi

Long Leasholder?

I moved in August 2005 and was given a tenancy agreement - no other tenancy agreements since then.

The service charge seems to be for Close Circuit TV & not cable (never had close circuit tv)

Many thanks for the help thus far

jeffrey
02-03-2010, 11:18 AM
Long Leasholder?

I moved in August 2005 and was given a tenancy agreement - no other tenancy agreements since then.

The service charge seems to be for Close Circuit TV & not cable (never had close circuit tv)

Many thanks for the help thus far
OK- so your L is probably owner of either a long lease or the block's freehold. You are just a sub-tenant of his.
What does your AST Agreement provide about:
a. service provision by L; and
b. T's obligations to pay?

ram
02-03-2010, 13:29 PM
The service charge seems to be for Close Circuit TV & not cable (never had close circuit tv)

Can we assume the building has no close circuit tv inside the common areas, or outside on the external walls, as if they do, then that charge could be acceptable.

But answers to jeffrey's questions will clarify what your next action is.
I assume you pay rent to Great Places.

enty01
28-03-2010, 01:41 AM
Hi

I have finally had a response from 'Great Places' which states:

"there has been some confusion with regards to the CCTV costs. Invoices were sent to Great Places with costs on that say "TV Distribution". When the service charges were put together for 2009/2010, it seems that the Housing Officer (at the time) thought this charge was for door entry video intercom. On further investigations following your letter, the charges are for TV Aerial upgrades that have been carried at the building"

So in other words they made a mistake by listing CCTV on the service charge schedule - The charge, totalling around £150.00 for the year, relates to aerial system upgrades prior to the digital switchover.

I only wish the service charge schedule was a legal document - maybe I could have got my money refunded on a technicality due to the wrong service (CCTV) being listed by mistake.

Thanks for the help & advice guys!

Regards - Stephen

(Assured non-shorthold tenancy)

ram
28-03-2010, 07:07 AM
Hi, the charges are for TV Aerial upgrades that have been carried at the building" - £150.00 for the year(Assured non-shorthold tenancy)

Just to let you know, no one I now of, has changed their TV aerial.
Even trying our naff indoor aerials - still get a good picture, and thats using a digital TV, and an anologe T.V. with £ 20 freeview box.

Of course, the £ 150 charge will be a once only charge.
Did you see the T.V. aerial men come and spend a while there ?
I don't trust Managing agents ! -- any of them, so check your bills next year, as when they come to type it out again, the template / previous one they copy and change, will still have CCTV in the appropriate column.

mind the gap
28-03-2010, 08:51 AM
The irony of the landlord's name is inescapable.:)

Ericthelobster
28-03-2010, 17:28 PM
Just to let you know, no one I now of, has changed their TV aerial.
Even trying our naff indoor aerials - still get a good picture, and thats using a digital TV, and an anologe T.V. with £ 20 freeview box.I agree - I have to laugh at the monstrosity recently fitted on my neighbour's chimney, which looks like something out of Star Trek, as compared with my own ancient thing, half of which has fallen off yet still provides a perfectly OK digital picture!) Is there any evidence of a new aerial having been fitted (have a look - binoculars? digital camera photo, zoomed in? - and see).

If there's an obviously old aerial up there you know what to do; if it is a lovely shiny new one (indicating the agent has likely been conned into having it fitted) you're probably on to a hiding to nothing.

mind the gap
28-03-2010, 18:45 PM
Perhaps the apparently non-existent CCTV cameras are ones like in James Bond films - concealed in skirting boards, etc., so the management can spy on the tenants :eek:

Cover all your skirting boards in duct tape, quick.

Mars Mug
28-03-2010, 19:56 PM
Perhaps the apparently non-existent CCTV cameras are ones like in James Bond films - concealed in skirting boards, etc., so the management can spy on the tenants

Cover all your skirting boards in duct tape, quick.

I think you need a tin-foil hat :p

Preston
28-03-2010, 22:06 PM
The OP seems happy, which is fine, but if he or she wishes to pursue the matter the answers to Jeffrey's questions are key and I would add a further query. Are your service charges variable or fixed? It would be helpful if you could quote the relevant parts of your tenancy agreement dealing with service charges if you are able to do so.

westminster
29-03-2010, 08:35 AM
Isn't it rather unusual for a short-term tenant of a flat to be made liable for the long leaseholder's service charges? Or is the landlord here passing on only some of the block charges?

Preston
29-03-2010, 08:50 AM
Isn't it rather unusual for a short-term tenant of a flat to be made liable for the long leaseholder's service charges? Or is the landlord here passing on only some of the block charges?

It is very common for assured tenants to have service charges in addition to the core rent, but these almost certainly won't be "pass through" in the way you describe. Rather, the landlord is probably the freeholder and is simply providing services over and above the "normal" provision of accommodation e.g. lift maintenance and grounds maintenance. The key is the tenancy agreement, just as the lease is the key document for long leaseholders.