Maida Vale Genesis Notting Hill tenants overcharged £85k in 'admin error' will be refunded – a year after it was spotted
PUBLISHED: 13:54 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:21 25 September 2018
Housing association tenants in Maida Vale will at last get an £85,000 refund after they were accidentally charged five times their cleaning bill.
It came to light when service charges shot up for cleaning communal areas at the 125 flats in Randolph Avenue, run by Genesis Notting Hill,
One person, who did not want to be named, said the bill for communal cleaning had gone up from £3.12 a week last year to £11.63 a week this year.
They raised the issue with the housing association in the spring and said: “I’m cross, I want my money back.”
The housing association has apologised for the mistake, which meant residents were charged for five days’ cleaning a week instead of one.
Maida Vale councillor Geoff Barraclough said: “They should be paying it back immediately. It belongs to the tenants who have been overcharged.”
Cllr Barraclough said some residents could be in financial hardship and called for money to be returned directly to them. He said one person saw their bill go up from £22.29 a month to £96.59.
Residents’ association representative Peter Denton said: “That money should be returned from whence it came. That’s my personal money and I want it back.”
The housing association said: “The overcharging started when the new contract began, in November 2016. There will be a refund of £85,000 for overcharging across the entirety of Randolph Avenue, but the credit per block or per household will vary.”
A spokesman said about 100 households were affected by the overcharging.
He said a letter would be sent to tenants “outlining the timescales of when accounts will be amended”, adding: “All overcharges will be credited to residents’ rent and/or service charge accounts, meaning that either outstanding balances will be cleared, or they will have that money taken off their rent/service charges.”
The mistake came about because of “an administration error during the tendering process that led to incorrect charges for five days of cleaning per week,” he said, “for which we sincerely apologise”.
The housing association’s neighbourhood manager raised the issue in October 2017 “and sought clarification from the contractor. When this was eventually received, it identified the admin error and the subsequent overcharges”.
Genesis Notting Hill said it did not believe any other blocks are affected but said it was “double checking” its stock just in case.