Complaints Procedures, HA Service Charges, Housing, Hyde Housing, Service Charges, Tenant & Resident Democracy

Hyde’s Mission: Service Charge Surpluses Not Social Housing

A damning report by the Housing Ombudsman published in October 2020 picked out Hyde Housing as one of five cases featured for gross failings.

The Housing Ombudsman declared Hyde guilty of “maladministration regarding the landlord’s communication about service charges, severe maladministration for its formal handling of [a] complaint, and service failure in relation to its record keeping.”

Concerns about Hyde’s service charges were raised in a previous blog by SHAC highlighting a charge of £10k for communal lighting in a block of just seven flats (https://shachome.wordpress.com/2020/11/18/it-pays-to-hyde/).

The article prompted other Hyde tenants to contact SHAC, and it soon became obvious that Hyde’s maladministration, failure to respond to tenants, and extortionate service charging is nothing new.

Chichester Council Finds Service Charges Rocket 300%

In 2016, a Chichester Council considered a report by its officers following a meeting with Hyde.

Chichester Council triggered the investigation after service charge rises of almost 100% at a scheme of 29 retirement homes at Pilgrim Court.

Residents’ bills increased from £15,564.82 in 2013 to £29,524.60 in 2015.   

Similarly, an estate of just 16 retirement flats at Warrenside received bills of £943.39 in 2014, but these rose by almost 300% to £4,489.75 in 2015.

Councillors rightly pointed out that Hyde had accumulated a surplus of £45 million and increased profit margins from 6% in 2014 to 14% in 2015.

These figures are even more extreme today. In its report to its investors in 2019, it proudly boasted of a £161m surplus and an operating marging of 36.3%.

Hyde was unapologetic about the hikes in service charges. The only concession they offered was acknowledging that they could have been far better at communicating to residents in advance of the service charge increases.

In attempting to justify its vast surpluses, Hyde commented “Any surplus is used to develop new properties. We are trying to increase the housing stock and generate a surplus to reinvest it.”

Hyde Housing shows its true colours in its report to investors, with an all-consuming focus on property development. 

Arrogance over Assistance

The council however was unconvinced, and concluded that “Hyde appears to be a large capital company with a certain arrogance rather than a registered provider charity with an ethos to help people.”

Setting aside any charitable purpose, Hyde has certainly lost sight of any mission “to help those most in need of a decent home.” Nor has it improved its responsiveness, but continues with a pretence at caring. When our previous article was published, we were contacted by Hyde via social media promising a meeting. They haven’t been in touch since.

Tenants and residents of SHAC@Hyde are now considering what action they will take. If you would like to join us, register here.

28 November 2020

Sources

Chichester Council 2016 report into Hyde https://chichester.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s4203/Hyde%20Report.pdf

Chichester Council minutes January 2016 https://chichester.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=133&MId=243&Ver=4

Pilgrim Court http://www.housingcare.org/housing-care/facility-info-5213-pilgrim-court-chichester-england.aspx

Warrenside http://www.housingcare.org/housing-care/facility-info-5222-warrenside-south-harting-england.aspx?cb=upvacs

Hyde 2019 Report to Investors https://www.hyde-housing.co.uk/media/4828/investors-presentation-2019.pdf

Housing Ombudsman report on Severe Maladminstration Cases Housing-Ombudsman-Severe-mal-cases-2019-20.pdf

1 thought on “Hyde’s Mission: Service Charge Surpluses Not Social Housing”

  1. Surely someone has to do something, this cannot be allowed to continue. It is fraud. We have rent regulation but HAS have found this loophole where can charge whatever they like which doesn’t even relate to the property they live in. It is causing so much distress and anxiety to all the tenants who simply can’t afford it. It is totally unjust and action has to be taken.

    Liked by 1 person

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