Complaints Procedures, HA Service Charges, Housing Law, Rent Strike, Service charge fraud, Service Charges

Mass Action to Tackle Housing Association Service Charge Abuse

SHAC and FindOthers have teamed up to develop a unique online tool to request and chase service charge packs. It is part of a long term SHAC campaign to end service charge abuse by housing associations.

Requests and Complaints Made Easy

The platform removes a lot of drudgery from the process with pre-set letters to which users can add their contact details and landlord name. The service is pre-programmed with the contact email addresses of most housing associations.

Templates cover service charge pack requests, invoice requests if users suspect errors, and a formal complaint if tenants and residents have been overcharged or not received a response, all of which can be generated at the touch of a button. It is also completely free of charge.

Tenants and residents will no longer need to spend hours composing their request and complaint letters. All templates are compliant with legal standards where relevant.

The system makes the request and complaints procedures much more accessible for those who traditionally struggle with bureaucratic processes, which includes those without a high degree of formal education, or for whom English is not their native language.

To access the service, register on Find Others Service Charge Campaign and select ‘Request a breakdown of your service charges’.

Tracking the Scale of Landlord Resistance

The platform will allow SHAC and FindOthers to track which landlords are most likely to miss request and complaints deadlines, and identify those whose service charge statements are most often incorrect. It will help SHAC’s campaign to end service charge abuse by housing associations.

FindOthers supports individuals and campaign groups who share the same issues to unite, take action, and seek justice. This may include legal action if applicable alongside campaigning and lobbying.

Taking legal action can be fraught process for individual tenants and residents, so this form of ‘class’ or mass legal action would eliminate the isolation often experienced.

Mass Action and Service Charge Strikes

SHAC has received a huge volume of complaints over service charges. Analysis of service charge statements almost always shows inaccuracies and grossly inflated charges. Issues include missing invoices and receipts, multiple charges for the same service, charges for non-existent services, and extortionate charges or management fees. Securing a refund is difficult and lengthy. Landlords thus benefit from people feeling too embattled to continue the struggle, despite the injustice.

SHAC members have often resorted to withholding service charge payments in protest, as an attempt to recoup overpayment, or just to get their housing association to engage in a dialogue. This has been a powerful strategy for some estate-level groups in particular and will continue to receive SHAC’s full support. For more details, see our service charge campaign page and the strike group page.

Please help by supporting the campaign and sharing details with friends and family.

30 November 2022

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