It is that time of year again when we put the wheels in motion for the 2015 Service Charge Budgets. Our Property Managers are busy bees identifying items on site that will need attention over the next 12-18 months as well as getting in the final quotes, ready for our Budget Meetings.
In order for a Service Charge demand to be valid by law, each demand must be made in writing and accompanied by the up to date version of the summary of tenants’ rights and obligations in England.
Southwark Crown Court found Brian Copsey, 60, guilty of fraud by abusing his position as Finance Chairman and Company Director back in April. Copsey was jailed for 8 years and disqualified for 12 years from being a Company Director.
Copsey was entrusted with the position of Finance Chairman and Director of two companies that were set up to manage the funds collected from tenants’of Bryanston Court in Westminster for Service Charge and Reserve Funds; and in turn Copsey controlled the bank accounts where these funds were held.
The board of Bryanston Court, Westminster involved the police when they found out a cheque for the sum of £1.8 million had bounced! Copsey was arrested and an investigation was undertaken revealing that over a two year period Copsey had made a number of bank transfers from the two accounts to him and a number of recipients including his wife.
It appears that the total amount taken amounted to £1,160,525.
The victims of Copsey’s act were neighbours and friends all living in the same block as him, some elderly and retired. It was also noted that some had to take out loans to pay for their contribution to the Service Charge and Reserve Fund.
It has been announced that Brandon Lewis has been promoted to Minister of State for Housing and Planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), combining the positions previously held by Nick Boles (Planning Minister) and Kris Hopkins (Housing Minister).
Penny Mordaunt will be known as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DCLG.
Eric Pickles will continue in his role as Secretary of State at DCLG and remains responsible for the overall strategic direction of DCLG which works with agencies and public bodies, including the Housing Ombudsman, the Planning Inspectorate, the Leasehold Advisory Service, the Homes & Communities Agency and the Building Regulations Advisory Committee and affordable housing, rented housing and the planning system.
In every Lease there are a number of obligations (or does and don’ts) that the flat owner is required to follow. This could include anything from when and how to pay the Service Charge to the actual usage of the flat itself.
In extreme cases where the flat owner does not fulfil the obligations set out in the Lease, legal action is highly likely resulting in the flat owner potentially losing their flat through the legal process called forfeiture.
As of 13th May the Leasehold Reform (Amendment) Act is now in force, meaning that a duly authorised person, such as a solicitor or someone with power of attorney can now sign any required notice on behalf of an owner.
This will make life a lot easier, as before this Act, any owner wishing to extend their lease or buy the freehold with a neighbour for example, was required to physically sign the required legal notices themselves.
Our new website has now gone live!
Finally the Government are getting involved in the Phillips and Francis court case.
We understand that the Government will provide evidence to the court stating Parliament’s original intentions when enacting the relevant legislation and the consequences by allowing the current ruling to stand.
At this unprecedented time we have made some operational changes and have closed our offices. The team are however still here to support you although for the time-being we will need your co-operation to communicate with us by email please.
Given the volumes we know we will not be able to reply immediately but if you could remain patient for the reply if applicable, you will most certainly receive a response but please resist the temptation to send several other emails, it will not only help us manage enquiries but enable us to identify any priority emails relating to emergencies etc
Rest assured we are doing everything we can, working within Government guidelines, to maintain services while at the same time protecting our staff, clients and contractors.
Finally, if we could ask you not to send any paper correspondence to our offices please, and to arrange for any payments to be submitted electronically it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your understanding, look after yourselves and please stay safe.