Bron Afon will comply fully with the terms of the individual leases when raising and calculating charges each year. Bron Afon will provide a clear explanation of the charges raised. Items billed for typically include ground rent, buildings insurance, grounds maintenance, communal electricity, lighting, cleaning, safety checks, responsive repairs, maintenance works and the management fee.
We will charge for the cost of works we can demonstrate has been reasonably
incurred. We may contract with individual leaseholders to carry out a higher
specification of work than required in return for an agreed charge. We will not charge for works we cannot demonstrate are reasonably incurred or fall outside the scope of the lease or if we have not followed the required Section 20 consultation process, unless we have separately contracted with a leaseholder at an agreed price.
Bron Afon will issue separate bills to leaseholders who have had Qualifying Works (Major Works) completed in the previous financial year.
We will provide support and advice for leaseholders to enable them to pay all
charges. This will include information about different ways of arranging payments as detailed later in this policy.
Our approach to recovery of sums due from leaseholders will operate on the same principles as those applying to our tenants:
• Our Leasehold Team will liaise with leaseholders over the payment of sums
due and the recovery of any arrears
• We will provide support and advice on available methods of payment
• Warning letters will be issued (possibly with an additional charge) and home visits will be made where there are arrears
• Payment agreements will be made wherever possible
• Comply with prescribed court protocols
We will respond to queries about the accuracy of figures or liability for service
charges within a reasonable time and will seek to find a resolution where possible. Where resolution is not possible, and payment remains outstanding we will take enforcement action to recover the debt which will include seeking an appropriate court or Leasehold Valuation Tribunal judgment.
Where leaseholders are able but unwilling to pay their charges or decline to discuss their financial position enforcement action will be taken to recover the sums due.
We will use the full range of enforcement mechanisms available to us including forfeiture of the lease where this is required.
Where leaseholders are unable to pay their charges in full (even with the payment options available) we will signpost them to maximise their income and refer them to other sources for advice. We will however continue to take appropriate action to secure payment and recover the debt.
We may consider buy back in exceptional circumstances; this will take into account any provisions set out in the Acquisitions & Disposal Policy. If buy back is not possible and leaseholders remain unable to pay their charges, we will take action to recover the charges due, which may include us applying to court for forfeiture of the lease.
In the event that a leaseholder disputes a service charge we will provide dispute resolution mechanisms, through our published complaints procedure and our leasehold review panel, for the charge to be reviewed and the leaseholder’s case to be considered. The aim of these processes will be to try and resolve the matter without the need for any legal action either by Bron Afon or the leaseholder.
We may also engage in independent mediation and/or seek expert advice to assist our decision making about charges and also proactively decide to test the basis of charging in complex cases through the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal / Residential Property Tribunal.