A website & blog for residents (and neighbours) of Dalston Square

Fob Recall, Service Charge Bills, And Dalston Futures Meeting

Fob Recall

Consort will soon begin the process of wiping the database of the development-wide fob entry system. All residents/fob holders will receive notification direct from Consort to your post-box to advise of the days your building is being reset thus requiring you to visit the concierge to have your fob re-programmed. The reset renders your fob useless until you pay that visit to the concierge where you will need to present your fob PLUS the forms you also received in your post-box, properly completed. The process will begin with Collins Tower next Monday & Tuesday, then make it’s way around the square. Check your post-box regularly for your block’s dates: You should get approximately one week’s notice. A little bit of a nuisance I know, but it should be a quick and painless procedure (completed by the end of the month) and will help tighten security for us all.

Service Charge Bills

By now, all Dalston Square property owners should have received their  supplementary charges bills for the financial years 2012/13 and 2013/14 (if you do not yet have yours it should be with you very soon). These charges, fully explained in Consort’s letter I think, vary widely depending on which block you own in and which year you look at (2012/13 sees rebates in excess of £500.00 for some phase 3 residents while some phase 1 residents saw bills in excess of £500.00, and in 2013/14 we see bills, some quite substantial, across the development). This though should be the last time we see supplementary charges like this: After years of campaigning and meetings between the DSRA and Consort, with the DSRA demanding transparency in Consort’s accounting and budgeting processes, the 2013/14 budget was set with the DSRA’s full approval. For the first time our finance committee (a small group of owner-residents who just happen to be professionals in the fields of accountancy and finance) were presented with full development accounts and budget plans, and were able to make sense of them (what has been passed to us as accounts in the past were anything but). Going forward, these newly established practices should ensure that unexpected items and shortfalls are kept to a minimum, and all future service charge rises can be fully explained and justified. It has taken 3 development managers, umpteen area managers, and several different accountants from Consort to give us the financial reports and transparency we have been demanding, but finally during the past 6 months or so, since the appointment of new development manager Gerald Bernard and Senior Property Manager Helen Goldstone (Gerald’s line-manager), we have finally been dealing with people who have not just listened to our concerns, they have acted on them and delivered results where their predecessors continually failed. (See HERE my post from March regarding the 2014/15 budget)

Dalston Futures Meeting & News

A reminder that Dalston Futures’ community organising master-class is tomorrow night at the Trinity Centre, and to pass on THIS LINK to catch up on their latest news.

 

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7 responses

  1. Jonathan

    Hi Mark, Regarding the supplementary service charges, we moved into Labyrinth in February this year and have received these bills. Do we have to pay for the time we didn’t own the flat?
    Has there been any indication why it takes consort 2 years to work out how much they are spending??!
    Kind regards,

    Monday, 6 October, 2014 at 10:20 am

    • Hi Jonathan.

      To answer your second question first, because their accountants were so incompetent. They knew there was a shortfall in the estates accounts but were unable to properly apportion charges to the correct blocks and justify those charges to residents or the DSRA. Only now, after all this time (and yet another complete change of staff on Consort’s end earlier this year), are all communal costs being correctly billed to the correct building (and by extension, apartment and resident): Previously it was very much the case that many charges, although correct as a whole for the development, were being arbitrarily split between buildings leaving some residents subsidising others. And that does not even touch on all the charges never budgeted for in the first place. As I said though, things should be much better from now on. All past years are now finalised, and the budget for this year, 2014/15, should be much more accurate and therefore much less likely to throw up nasty surprises when audited and concluded at year’s end.

      With regard paying for charges incurred before you purchased your place, I really do not know. One would think that the previous owner would be liable for these as they owned the place at the time, but perhaps those debts transferred to you when you purchased it. Try speaking to Consort about it, or perhaps impartial advise from a property lawyer would make more sense.

      Monday, 6 October, 2014 at 11:26 am

  2. Martha

    just want to say that I for one am hugely grateful for all the time and energy invested in getting transparency from Consort. Management Service s company’s are notorious for being opaque and it is a relief to know that at least going forward we should be able to understand the charges and they can be held to account, so THANKYOU.

    Monday, 6 October, 2014 at 11:15 am

    • Jonathan

      I agree! Thank you !!

      Monday, 6 October, 2014 at 11:17 am

    • Jonathan

      Many thanks for your reply Mark, i figured it was due to consort being useless. I will look into the liability issue.
      Thanks

      Monday, 6 October, 2014 at 11:32 am

  3. Swapping from my DSRA hat into my resident hat for a moment I will also add my thanks. The DSRA’s finance sub-committee have put in a lot of time and energy to get to this point. I have not been involved in this work myself, but know how frustrating this process has been for them. Thanks to you all for staying the course.

    Monday, 6 October, 2014 at 11:40 am

  4. Rick

    Let me add my thanks for DSRA’s efforts in scrutinising what for many (well for me at least) is mostly impenetrable.

    Monday, 6 October, 2014 at 5:43 pm

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