The Chair of the TRA wrote to Hyde on 1 March 2017 as follows:
This is a formal complaint on behalf of the residents of Kennington Park Estate in respect of
- charging residents for a non-existent service, namely CCTV maintenance and repair;
- Hyde’s failure to provide residents with service charge statements for 2015-16.
I have today received notification of my service charges based on estimates for 2017-18. These service charges include a charge of £32,389.15 for CCTV maintenance and repair for the Estate.
This compares with an estimated charge of £26,128.12 for 2016-17, a 24% increase of over £6,000.
The residents of this Estate have yet to receive Hyde’s actual charges for 2015-16 (which is also part of this complaint). However, I, along with my colleague officers of Kennington Park Estate Tenants and Residents Association, have – as part of the Gateway Project – scrutinised the invoices for that period. I attach the report we submitted on 8 November 2016 – a report to which we received no response until 14 February 2017 when we finally met with Helen Carter and began going through the issues we had raised.
You will note that the very first paragraph of our report states “CCTV – we have no comments on the CCTV invoices other than to remind you that ———-‘s contract ended on July 2016 and that we expect this to be reflected in the invoices for 2016-17”. We reiterated this when we met with Ms Carter and this is recorded in Ms Carter’s report “Kennington Park Estate Residents Actions Update” 14 February 2017 (also attached) under point 9.2 – “CCTV costs shouldn’t appear on the 17/18 budgets” (page 10).
We understand that once tenants (unlike leaseholders) have been charged for a service they do not receive a refund – just ‘reduced’ bills the following year. The TRA has for many years complained about the disproportionate amount KPE residents have been paying for CCTV so we are content that —————’s contract has ended and that we are no longer being charged for this. EXCEPT WE ARE BEING CHARGED – for eight months of a non-existent service during 2016-17 and then an estimated charge for a further twelve months of 2017-18.
This is totally unacceptable and, since it has already been acknowledged that these costs should not be included in our bills, please issue revised bills immediately so that residents, and particularly tenants, are not penalised by having to pay for non-existent services and, consequently, inflated management fees.
There will undoubtedly be other matters that we will wish to raise in respect of these estimates. But the question of the CCTV charges is urgent and we trust that you will give it your immediate attention. I look forward to your confirmation that this is happening.