SHAC receives frequent and sometimes shocking reports about problems with service charges.
Some landlords are clearly worse than others. However, across the sector it is evident that tenants and residents are getting a raw deal, and the ability of housing associations to manage this aspect of their business responsibly is questionable.
“Living in an NHG shared ownership property has probably shortened my life.”Service charge abuse victim
This is not because of disrepairs as you might expect, but because of service charge abuse. It’s a sentiment we hear over and over. Our new research shows the extent and impact.
Service Charge Statement and Complaint Online Tool
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.
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. See here for more details.
SHAC has compiled a report on the abuse of the service charging mechanism by housing associations. We now aim to use this report to get sweeping changes enforced.
Click here to download the report
SHAC believes that tenants and residents rights should be strengthened so that they have easy access to:
- Mandatory itemised billing with supplier receipts
- Set timescales for refunds
- Mandatory reporting through regulatory returns on overcharging and undercharging errors
- Automatic reporting to a regulatory body when overcharging exceeds a certain level;
- Automatic compensation to tenants and residents (beyond like-for-like refunds) when overcharging occurs
- Automatic compensation to tenants and residents when landlords are slow to reimburse tenants after overcharging
- A mandatory requirement to pass on efficiency savings to tenants and residents when supplier costs reduce
It is only through such measures that the system of service charging can be made transparent, and tenants and residents can be sufficiently empowered to address errors.
- Service Charge Survey
- One Housing Group Service Charge Review Too!
- Clarion Compelled to Review Service Charges
- Clarion Tenants Consider Service Charge Strike
- Hyde’s Mission: Service Charge Surpluses Not Social Housing
- It Pays to Hyde
Write to your MP
MPs are much more likely to respond to a request from one of their own constituents. If you are able to do so, please use the resources below to write to yours. It only takes a moment and a high volume of letters will force them to listen and to act. You can find your MP here.
Dear Rt Honourable [MP Name] MP
Please find attached a letter requesting your intervention to curtail excessive and unjustified service charges imposed by housing associations. If you are able to influence the DfLU or the Housing Minister to take steps to control service charges, then this will benefit millions of housing association tenants and leaseholders.
Don’t forget to download and attach the following:
Download the template campaign letter
Download SHAC’s Report on the Abuse of the Service Charge System by HA Landlords.
Videos of the Speakers from the ‘Challenging Service Charge Abuse: The Courts and Other Approaches’ meeting on 15th February
5 thoughts on “Service Charges”
Unfortunately, my MP is utterly useless; too busy after the main chance. What are my options?
Generally the system is stacked against us, so a campaign should shame all into supporting us. I always include campaigns, unions political cllrs MP’s from all parties, trades councils when I send anything around. Give them template letters to write to your housing association (read purpatrator) as just like us, they have a lot to do.
Unfortunately so many of them are! We would still encourage you to write to them. If enough people lobby them, they will ultimately be forced to act, or will be replaced by someone who will. You can also ask to meet them (virtually or in person at their surgery) so you can stress the need for them to support what we are trying to do – make housing associations accountable. Outside of this, we need as many people as possible to get involved in campaigning so that our collective action can’t be ignored.
In 2018 this Government issued a white paper saying it would “ CRACKDOWN “on Managing agents . ( MA) In 2919 Lord Best submitted his final report recommending strict mandatory regulation of MA’s. 3 yrs later and NOTHING! Why? I believe because the corrupt Residential property sector I’d the Tory Party’s largest donor.
We need mass peaceful robust protest. We are treated as as SERFS. ENOUGH!
I have emailed my M.P. Mike Freer for years about this. His latest reply was he had nothing more to add than he already has and to seek litigation. I sought advice from a solicitor it is not legally aided and the cost is £350 per hour for their services. Because we have fixed charges, which they are not as they vary from tenant to tenant and have an array of errors every year, the First Tier Tribunal refused to correct my service charges on the ground of the Rent Act 1977 and that the service charge is fixed and therefore reflects the actual costs. I wouldn’t have been trying to go to court if it was not for the fact that they are incorrect and do not reflect the costs!