Complaints Procedures, HA Service Charges, Housing Law, Housing protest, Optivo, Rent Strike, Service charge fraud, Service Charges, Service Cuts, Southern Housing, Tenant & Resident Democracy

Southern (Optivo) Tenants Declare Service Charge Strike

Residents of an Optivo (now Southern Housing) estate in Putney have written to chief executive Paul Hackett explaining that as of April, they will be withholding their service charge payments.

They join a growing group of housing association tenants and residents to resort to this tactic after attempts at resolving issues with their landlord fail.

In a detailed letter, they spell out why they have felt compelled to take the drastic action, including a failure to provide the invoice pack for their service charges, ‘fraudulent’ charges for services never delivered, extortionate charges, delays in service delivery, and lack of cyclical maintenance.

The residents highlight the fact that attempts to get the issues resolved have met with deflection and failure.

I have made five requests to make a formal complaint regarding this with Optivo and been ignored all five times.

Resident Representative’s Letter

They conclude that “The Optivo centralised call system is certainly not used to “ensure that a response is provided in an efficient and timely manner”“, referring to commitments made by Optivo on dealing with complaints.

They add that “It can take 5 working days for an email to be acknowledged by the centralised call system. Added to that a further 10 working days for someone to respond. This is an unacceptable time frame for a response to an email.”

Optivo merged with Southern Housing Group in early 2023

A further source of attrition for the residents is the fact that their car park is given to Zip Cars to use allegedly free of charge, but the residents are then charged for maintenance of the forecourt.

The letter is signed by the occupants of ten flats and the group is being supported by SHAC.

13 March 2023

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1 thought on “Southern (Optivo) Tenants Declare Service Charge Strike”

  1. Service charges elements being levied on residents of a block in East London, who are currently not even in the building. Having been ‘evicted’ from their homes, since 4th August 2022, on the grounds of ‘health and safety’. While refurbishment of properties, for qualification on legal requirements, is further delaying resident’s return to their homes. None of these legal requirement refurbishments have been documented. Furthermore at least three people have lost their lives during this period. The stress of unexpected displacement from their homes for a period of eight months, so far. Having undoubtedly exacerbated their health condition, in each case. Shameless.

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