Service Charges - Lewisham Homes

Hi,

I am a Leaseholder in a property run by Lewisham Homes. I always have huge issues everytime I receive the upcoming year’s service charge estimate. Services added twice, incorrect amounts, direct debits set up incorrectly etc. Are there any other Leaseholders on the forum who are also experiencing these severe administrative errors?

Yes. I have only just received my estimated service charges for 2019/20. They had orreneously added charges from a previous year even though I had already paid them. I feel sorry for the people you speak to and they do try and help. Is frustrating that they don’t offer any insight into why charges may be increasing. Especially as I see no improvement in the service offered. Although in fairness general upkeep and maintenance is pretty good.

Hi Johnny. My estimated service charges were also delayed, and when I received it they added an extra £2000 for good measure! It has been amended but now there are other issues. At first I did feel sorry for the staff, but now I have decided that some of them are just really bad at their jobs. Anyway, thanks for the response. I’m considering having a face to face with someone higher up there and was just wanting to know if it is just me, or if other people are experiencing issues.

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We owned & lived in a flat on the Woodvale Estate from 1998-2000, & our service charges were always being challenged by us & other leaseholders as they were always ridiculously high or we didn’t understand what we were paying for! So I’m sorry to hear that things haven’t improved!

I used to audit these leasehold service charges.

I suggest that you speak to the auditors and ask for an explanation, if you have any query about your service charges.

Hi Sherwood,

Thanks for your reply. Apologies for my ignorance, are the auditors an independent body or are they part of lewisham Council? Is there an easy way to contact them?

Thanks

Hi adj

We (my neighbour and I) having a lot of problems with Lewisham Homes with regards to their charges. Just this month I was able to gain a refund for services that we were being charged for but LH never carried out (apparently it was a mistake on their database). I had to escalate this to the Head of Department before they took us seriously. We’re currently in this ongoing battle with them over an invoice for major works, most of which weren’t carried out.

It may be worthwhile considered joining the Lewisham Homes Leaseholders Alliance, which are a group of leaseholders who are fighting LH as a collective - lewishamcla@gmail.com . They’ve help our estate a lot and without them we would have gotten nowhere in our fight against the major works charges.

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I would definitely recommend joining the Leaseholders Alliance, Kat has been a major help with problems with major works and service charges and the Alliance have actually got Lewisham to listen and start being answerable to the fact that leaseholders seem to have been treated as Lewisham’s cash cows for many many years.

Hey @adj, welcome to the thousands of people in this city querying and often successfully disputing service charges :grin:

I would recommend as others have suggested getting in touch and joining the wider group as it looks like this is something that has already been organised.

It is always worth knocking on neighbours doors, even if you don’t already know them, to see if they are interested in joining the action. Most of the time everyone is in the same boat and there’s no harm in asking.

You are entitled to ask for a breakdown of costs and expenditure from Lewisham Homes so I would request that first.

Not a lawyer, but do avoid withholding all your service charge; it might land you in more trouble than it’s worth, some leases are particularly nasty in this regard. But if it comes to it, you can have a look at how well Lewisham Homes does at the First-Tier Tribunal where most disputes end up if they cannot be settled “amicably”:

Myself and some other leaseholders took our freeholders to tribunal earlier in the year after failing to get any sense out of them, and we received a pretty decent outcome.

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They are part of Lewisham Council.

Telephone 020 8314 6000 (the main switchboard) and ask for Internal Audit.

I think there should be some reference to them on your notices if they have audited the leasehold service charges on behalf of Lewisham Homes.

Thanks to all of you who have offered great advice. I will act on all of it in the coming weeks and months.

Evening, if you have issues with Lewisham Homes that you cannot resolve, please email us lewishamcla@gmail.com I will address the issues with the head of Leasehold at Lewisham Homes or even higher Seniors if needs be.

Lewisham Homes has a lot of problems. They are currently undergoing changes that our group triggered a year ago. A lot of administrative mistakes happen because they process, input all data manually using excel spreadsheets. Very poor operationaly. Departments are not connected, complains not analysed. Not an excuse though. As a group we will be pushing them hard until all issues are resolved and leaseholders receive good standards of services through out.

I am Kat, one of the coordinators of Lewisham Council Leaseholder Alliance.

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Our minutes from the last meeting with CEO in April minutes 23.04.2019.pdf (98.3 KB)

LH response to the questions about Decent Home program Decent Homes questions and answers 2019-06-04.docx (17.6 KB)

Lewisham Homes Corporate Business plan Corporate Plan - Final LR.pdf (1.3 MB)

Progress Report by Lewisham Homes LH progress report 2019-04-18.doc (181.5 KB)

Our next leaseholders meeting will be on 24th July, if interested, please email me for the time and place.

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