Furore Over Late Payment Charge

A significant number of residents are up in arms over the implementation of late payment charge, when they claim they were not invoiced last September.
Foolishly in our view, the letters were sent out on the Friday before a Bank Holiday weekend, so the recipients were not able to quickly query them resulting in a build up of anger and frustration.
The consortium have published this on their web site, after circulating it to councillors and the residents groups complaining about verbal abuse and foul language from residents.
We believe this incident illustrates the need for residents to work together and this is our considered response:
Channel you Anger – Support GPNA 
GPNA do not condone abusive behaviour and urge residents not to resort to this, although we do understand the level of anger and frustration, especially as there appears to be no improvement with the new management.
We do ask residents to get behind us when we are challenging the way the management companies are run.
The two smaller RAs from which GPNA was formed have both worked hard for years to hold the management companies to account over inaccurate billing and what we feel are unjustified charges – with minimal support from the majority of residents. What we have found is that there is no legislation to protect us over estate charges, although there is lobbying for change at national level, with some success.
What we do know is that so much more can be achieved by working together.
At the moment we are left with what is in our transfer documents as referred to in the consortium web site article. We have not seen a TP1 which contains reference to a late payment charge and also dispute the statement that all parties agreed to its implementation. East Moor Village RA responded thus when asked to comment of the Rent and Service Charge Pack, and we believe BGVRA responded similarly:

Whilst EMVRA welcome the creation of the information pack and believe residents will find some of the information useful, we do not endorse all of its content. We have the following suggestions:  – the explanation of how the service charge is calculated is helpful and feel that an example showing the calculation would assist in illustrating this – there is no formal complaint process or dispute resolution mentioned and the introduction of the late payment charge makes it harder for residents to raise a dispute. Can you document the complaint process in this pack? If residents are aware of the process, it should reduce the number of complaints we see about how they cannot question the charges or how they don’t get a timely response and sometimes no response at all. – the pack does not address any issues raised prior to 2015. We acknowledge you believe it is best to just move forward and this approach may be acceptable to the newer parts of Great Park but as EMV was completed back in 2011, that would mean 4 years of issues that have not been addressed for our residents. There are outstanding concerns that residents have been overcharged in prior years and questions over which areas of land were handed over to the management company and when. Again, we recognise that these issues occurred prior to you taking up the Project Director role and that may make answering the questions difficult but we feel it would be unjust to penalise residents for the potential failings in the previous set up. Thank you for taking the time to put the pack together and for allowing us the opportunity to review it prior to making it public.

Residents’ groups can and do stand up for what is believed to be residents’ concerns, but we could be much more effective with your support. GPNA has its AGM on 22nd May and is actively looking for more residents to be involved with running the group – this is a crucial time if we are to effectively challenge unfair charging. For more information about the estate charge take a look around our site and at this article written last October

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