As a leaseholder living in the borough of Ealing, I tend to check my service charge bills from Ealing Homes with a keen eye, to ensure that I am not being charged for any spurious services.
I live in Deepwood Lane,on the Cowgate Estate,and have recently received a 'Service Charge Deficit' bill for £157, due to the original estimate having been calculated at a lower rate.
With the bill, came a 'Breakdown of Charges' which detailed why the estimate had been miscalculated, and showed individual charges of £63.96 and multiples thereof to replace light bulbs in the communal corridors.
I questioned Ealing Homes as to why light bulbs could be out of action for over three months at a time,and asked if it was not the responsibility of the caretaker to report/fix broken light bulbs.
Ealing Homes confirmed that it replace broken light bulbs (a service that we already pay for as part of our 'Estate Services' charge), but had not been able to do so as the lights have a "special fitting", and "the caretaker does not have the correct screwdriver".
Therefore, all broken light bulbs on the Cowgate Estate are being escalated to Ealing Home's
'Repair Link' service, whereby qualified electricians are being sent out to change the broken light bulbs, and the cost of which is being passed back to the leaseholders. All of the communal corridor lights on the Cowgate Estate were replaced to the newer energy saving light bulbs with the 'special fitting' some six years ago, so this would affect all of the blocks on the estate.
So for the sake of a £10 screwdriver for the caretaker,we are essentially being charged twice for a service to replace broken light bulbs.
If Ealing Homes are so strapped for cash that they can't afford £10 for a screwdriver, I will gladly go out and buy one myself for the caretaker,to ensure that I and fellow leaseholders on the estate do not receive these ludicrous, and over-inflated charges, to replace a light bulb.