Residents demand books are opened up on leasehold charges
Chesterstons say sorry for heating system problems at Kilburn block
20 April, 2017 — By Tom Foot
Residents at the Kilburn flats block who are demanding to know how their service charges are spent
A RESIDENTS’ group is demanding that an estate management company release full accounts for their block as concerns mount over hundreds of thousands of pounds in service charge payments.
Hillsborough Court Residents’ Association has written to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and Camden Council with complaints about landlord Grainger’s and estate agents Chestertons’ “inability to maintain the building”. The group say they have been repeatedly denied access to accounts for 2015 and 2016.
Verity Farnworth, management committee chairwoman, said: “We simply want answers to some very simple questions – as is our right under the law. Grainger and Chestertons are some of the biggest names in leasehold property. They are supposed to be professional firms and Chestertons charge over £50,000 a year to manage the block. However, they have consistently ignored our most basic requests for information and are refusing to tell us what they are doing with our money.”
Some of the leaseholders at the 123-home block, in Mortimer Crescent, Kilburn, have withheld payments.They say bikes have been mistakenly destroyed, a lift catches fire and a recently-installed communal heating system has persistently failed, leaving families in the cold without heating or hot water.
HCRA chairman Havard Hughes added: “We are happy to pay our share, but we have no confidence the money is being spent on what it is supposed to be.”
Chris March, Chestertons’ head of estate management, said: “After various issues with the previous management company, Chestertons was appointed to take over the management of this block in 2012 and a report from an independent auditor confirms that all income and expenditure by Chestertons can be properly accounted for. ”
He added: “The accounts for the period up to the end of 2015 have been prepared and are now with the freeholder for final review, after which they will be sent to leaseholders. The 2016 accounts are currently being prepared. We acknowledge and apologise for the issues that leaseholders have experienced with the new heating system. Although Chestertons did not specify the system, we are working closely with a specialist heating consultant to rectify the issues to the satisfaction of leaseholders.”