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Communal Charges

Published on 07/05/2020

As we reach the end of week 7 of lockdown, we hope all our customers are continuing to find ways to cope with the pressures that come with continued restrictions on our everyday lives.  Whilst it is anticipated that the current restrictions will remain in place for a further period, we have been encouraged with the indications from the Government that they are now considering pathways out of lockdown with a phased relaxation of the restrictions.

As our previous communications have advised, our teams continue to assist our customers daily, administering the various tasks involved in having contractors and service suppliers ensure that essential maintenance, repairs, inspections, electricity and gas provision and insuring of common property and ground continues.

The end of week 7 also sees us reaching the end of our second quarterly accounting period of the year and brings the requirement for us to issue our May Common Charges invoice. These are currently in the process of being prepared and are being issued over the coming week or so.

As all our customers will be aware, the charges appearing on this invoice will be predominantly for the various works undertaken in the previous 3-month period along with insurance premiums for the coming 3-month period.  It is therefore likely that your invoice will be unaffected by any reduction in contractor services experienced post lockdown, with our customers August invoice potentially affected by the same (property dependant).

It is vital that homeowners pay their May common charges invoice promptly, simply to ensure that, for all homeowners, we can continue the essential service we provide and that essential services continue to be provided by suppliers.

A subject some of our customers may, understandably, find difficult to raise is where they are experiencing difficulty in paying their common charges. We have a responsibility to all homeowners to ensure we deal with this otherwise the essential services relied upon may be disrupted.

Over this period, while respecting our obligation and the need to continue to provide services to our customers properties, we have been very sympathetic and understanding to those who have found themselves in a difficult financial position due to the pandemic. We have offered to assist with payment plans, deferred payments and rearranged existing payment methods for customers.

Given the continuing lockdown, we would again like to extend our offer of assistance to those who need it most and if any of our customers find themselves in the unfortunate position of experiencing hardship, we would again urge them to contact us to establish how we can help them through this.

Specifically, we are able to offer our customers;

  1. Deferred payments for 3 months or
  2. An extended instalment arrangement affordable to you

There is no penalty or interest charges with either of these options.

Naturally, we would be happy to consider any other alternatives which our customers feel would suit them.  We would revisit the arrangement entered into with us at a future date, depending on circumstances.  Many of our customers have been very grateful for the assistance we have been able to offer and have already contacted our Credit Control Team, who can be contacted by e-mail at – creditcontrol@hackingandpaterson.co.uk

Please come forward and contact us and we will do all that we can to help.

Whilst the majority of our customers are aware of our quarterly payment cycles and the regular content of the invoices received, we thought it would be helpful to answer some of the most frequently asked questions asked of us during any invoicing period.

How can I pay my invoice?

Have your invoice to hand, you will need your Account Number and URN;

  • Log into your My H&P Web Portal or App (available on the App Store or Google Play)
  • Call our automated payment line – 0330 088 9592
  • Pay by bank transfer;
    • Clydesdale Bank plc
    • Sort Code:           82-64-34
    • Account No:       00319784
    • Payment Ref:     Please use your account number, which appears on the front page of your invoice.

You can find more information about making payments, including setting up a Direct Debit, or by more traditional methods like cheque on our website, Click here.

Can I pay in installments/set up Direct Debit?
Yes, you can.  Please log into your My H&P Web Portal or App (on the App Store or Google Play) to set up a Direct Debit or contact your Property Management team to discuss making payment installments.

I pay by Direct Debit but have received an account, do I need to make an additional payment?
If you pay by Direct Debit, you will still receive an invoice each quarter.  We review the level of your Direct Debit annually, but you can also check for any additional repair costs or any brought forward balance which might need an additional payment.   If you are not sure please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss this with you.

Could my account be in credit?
If your account balance shows as -£XXX this means you are in credit and payment of this sum is not required.

Why have I been charged an additional administration fee?
Unfortunately, if your last common charges invoice was not paid in time, additional work was required to recover payment and this attracts a fee, per our debt recovery procedure, which can be found here.  Additional fees like this can be avoided if you talk to us and let us know if you are having any problems making payment.  We are always happy to discuss any assistance that is required.

Why is there a brought forward balance on my invoice?
This is because your previous invoice(s) have not been paid in full.  If you pay by Direct Debit you may wish to review the level of payment you are making, you can send us an e-mail to creditcontrol@hackingandpaterson.co.uk  and we’ll review this, just make sure you include your address or account number.  If you did not pay your previous invoice in full, perhaps because of a query or payment plan, your Property Management Team will have explained any action you need to take, or there may be a credit within your invoice to balance this.

If you are unsure, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain.

Why are we being charged for the ground maintenance over the winter months?
Your ground maintenance contract covers the full year, with more work carried out in the growing season (April-October) and reduced services in the off season (November-March).  Almost all of our developments pay the annual contract cost in 12 equal monthly installments, this helps spread the cost and prevent higher costs during the summer months.   If you would like more specific information about your development, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain.

The cleaners and/or ground maintenance haven’t been attending my property?
There may have been some adjustments to services due to Covid 19, properties affected have been notified.  Where services have been adjusted, we have taken steps to ensure future invoices received reflect any reductions.  If you have queries about any of the services provided to your property, please contact your Property Management Team who are happy to help.

I need more information about the charges on my invoice?
Please log into your My H&P Web Portal or App (on the App Store or Google Play) to view your Statement, Common Charges Invoices and Contractor Invoices.  You can also check the development News Stories, Letters, Proposed Works area and E-mails we have sent you to find out more about the work completed, why it was needed and what it cost.

Why am I being charged for the investigation of water ingress when it turned out to be a private leak?
If you live in a block of flats (modern or traditional) you might be affected by a leak and it is not always possible for homeowners to identify where the leak is coming from.  To protect the building from further damage and possible costs, it is sometimes necessary to instruct a contractor to investigate.  If you need our help to arrange this, the costs arising will be invoiced on a common basis, with any private repairs arising being for the relevant homeowner to attend to.

There seems to be a duplicate charge in my invoice?
Some developments have multiple facilities which you are responsible for, for example more than 1 play park, lift, cleaning of multiple stairways or shared costs for door entry or other building maintenance costs.  This can lead to contractors carrying out tests or inspections to different areas, which can show on the same date, cost and apportionment share.

Why do I have to pay into a cyclical maintenance fund?
Many of our customers save for their property’s future by contributing to a Cyclical Maintenance Fund through their common charges accounts.  Decisions about these funds are made by the homeowners and many have been in place for a considerable number of years, possibly prior to you buying your property.  These funds help homeowners plan their future maintenance requirements and are strongly supported by the Scottish Government and various other housing stakeholder groups.

I have just moved into/moved out of a property and I don’t understand the dates on my invoice?
You will be responsible for any costs incurred from your date of purchase, or until your date of sale.  If there are any service contracts or charges, which might cover a weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual period, these will be accounted for your period of ownership.   If this covers a period where you bought or sold a property you will not be charged the full share, only the pro-rata amount. You can quickly check this by dividing the total charge from the contractor by the share shown.

Do you receive commission from contractors invoices?
No, we do not. This is confirmed in our Terms of Service & Delivery Standards, which is available on your My H&P Web Portal or App.

How is my electricity contract arranged?
Click here for more information about how we approach this on our customers behalf.

Can I get copy invoices or a statement of accounts?
You can view all invoices appearing on your invoice by accessing your My H&P Web Portal or App, or contact your Property Management Team for more information.

We hope that the answers to these frequently asked questions have helped, however, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone to your management team, they are waiting to help.

Please Stay Safe

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