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  1. Can i keep pets?

    If you live in a house or a property with its own garden, you may keep a cat or a dog without getting our permission. If you live in a flat or maisonette or other home without its own garden, you will need written permission to keep a cat or a dog, unless it is a guide or hearing dog. If we agree to let you keep a cat or dog, we will ask you to sign a Request to Keep a Pet Form. This asks you to confirm things such as:

    • you will keep your dog on a lead in communal areas;
    • you will not let your dog foul the grounds but if there are any incidents, you will clear them up immediately;
    • you will make sure your dog does not cause a nuisance to other staff, residents or visitors and
    • you will keep your dog fully vaccinated and regularly wormed and treated from fleas.

    You may keep other small pets, such as small caged birds, animals or fish, without getting our permission.
    We reserve the right to revoke permission should your pet cause a nuisance to other people.

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  2. Can I replace my existing windows?

    No. If you wish to replace your windows you can apply to vary your lease, however, every leaseholder in the block must agree to vary the lease for this to happen.  If windows are changed without permission then we could ask you to remove them if they do not conform to the appropriate standard and you would be charged for replacements.  If windows have been replaced without permission you will still be charged for the proportion of the block window costs.
     

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  3. Can I sublet my flat?

    You do not need permission from us but you must give us a correspondence address in England or Wales.  Your tenants must not cause nuisance to their neighbours, if they do action will be taken against you for breach of the lease. Additionally, your tenants must abide by the other terms of your lease. If you have a mortgage it is likely that you will have to notify your lender.
     

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  4. Do I have a separate major works account?

    Yes, if you have had major works carried out to your block or estate since the financial year 2013/2014.  This means that your main service charges and major works costs are accounted for on separate accounts.
     

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  5. How do I get a breakdown of my service charges?

    By contacting us in writing at Gateway Housing Association, 409-413 Mile End Road, London E3 4PB, by calling 020 8709 4300, or by emailing enquiries@gatewayhousing.org.uk.
     

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  6. How do I know if the service charges for homeowners are reasonable?

    It is in our interests as well as homeowners to ensure that all costs and services are reasonable. An independent audit is carried out each year on the service charge accounts to give reasonable assurance that they are a fair summary of the costs relating to the building or estate, and is sufficiently supported by our accounts, receipts and other documents.
     

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  7. How is the decision made on who should do the work?

    We are required to work only with contractors who can meet our criteria for experience, financial stability and quality. We will use new contractors only if they meet these standards. Commercial contractors cannot have any connection with our staff. Competitive tenders are required for major works. We will usually choose the one quoting the lowest price, subject to their compliance with the other criteria referred to, but would stress that price is not the only consideration in appointing contractors. If we appoint a contractor who has not provided the lowest quote, then we will explain why.
     

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  8. If I do not agree with my service charges do I have to pay them?

    If there is an element of your service charge that you dispute, then you should contact us which element it is and why you are disputing it.  While we are investigating this you must pay the rest of your service charges. We will write back to you with the findings of our investigation and if we uphold your dispute then the charge will be reduced or removed, as appropriate. If we do not uphold it then it will become due for payment. We aim to write to you with an outcome within 28 days of your raising the dispute.  If we do not uphold your dispute and you are unhappy with this decision you can apply to the First Tier Tribunal-Property Chamber (Residential Property) or a County Court for a judgement on this. You may wish to seek independent legal advice in this respect.
     

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  9. If I have an issue regarding any service I receive from Gateway, how do I raise it?

    By contacting us using any of the methods listed above. We will look into your issue and reply to you.
     

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  10. Is there any limit to the costs of major repairs and maintenance?

    Generally, there are no limits (unless the repairs or maintenance were funded wholly or partly by certain Government or Homes and Communities Agency funds). However, if you purchased under the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire schemes, there are limits during the first five years for repairs and improvements and general repairs, and for the first ten years for structural repairs. These were detailed in your offer notice which you received when you applied to buy your home.  During these first five years we cannot charge more than the amounts we estimated for itemised repairs and improvements (after allowing for inflation). Unless you were advised of itemised structural defects in your building before you bought your home from us, you will not have to contribute towards the cost of putting right that defect during the first ten years.
     

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  11. What are actual service charges?

    These are the actual costs for the services you received for the previous financial year.  For example, the actual costs sent to leaseholders in September 2014 were for the financial year 2013/2014 (i.e. 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014).  An adjustment is carried out to leaseholder accounts in September for the difference between what was estimated and the actual cost.  This can be a credit or a debit.
     

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  12. What are estimated service charges?

    At the start of the financial year we will estimate your service charges by basing them on the last known actual costs plus an allowance for two year inflation. For example, the financial year 2013/2014 estimate was based on the actual costs of the financial year 2011/2012 plus 6%.
     

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  13. What dates does the financial year run from and to?

    The financial year starts on 1 April and concludes on 31 March the following year.
     

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  14. What is a block charge?

    This is a charge that relates to services received for your block only.
     

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  15. What is an estate charge?

    This is a charge that relates to services received for a communal area that is shared by a number of blocks/premises.
     

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  16. What is the First Tier Tribunal?

    The First Tier Tribunal is an independent service in England for settling disputes involving private rented and leasehold property. They provide an accessible and relatively informal way to resolve residential leasehold disputes. A fee has to be paid by you if you want to go to the Tribunal.
     

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  17. When can I expect to be consulted about work to be carried out to the property or estate?

    If major works that will cost more than £250 for any one leaseholder are required, we are obliged to serve notice on you of our intention to carry out the work and why it is necessary, we will:

    • advise all residents and any recognised residents associations of the proposed works, specification, and the contractors who we will ask to tender for the work;
    • ask all residents and any recognised residents association if they want to suggest any other contractor who might be suitable to do the work, and can meet our requirements (you will be given at least 30 days to comment);
    • provide details of the tenders received and which one we intend to use. You will receive a statutory consultation notice and be given at least one month to provide us with comments and
    • summarise comments received and how we have been able to accommodate them, or explaining why we cannot do so.

    Wherever possible we will provide more information about dates of work and access requirements.

     

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  18. When will I receive my estimated service charge?

    You’ll receive a summary for the whole year’s estimate.  An invoice for payment of the first half year’s estimate will be sent to you in April.  An invoice for the second half year’s estimate will be sent to you in October.  This invoice will also include an adjustment for the previous year’s actual costs.
     

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  19. Where can I obtain independent debt advice?

    The Citizens Advice Bureau can give this. There are offices in Whitechapel Poplar and Bethnal Green, view a full list. If you are of pensionable age then Age Concern can give advice. Additionally, you can seek advice from a solicitor or a Law Centre but you are likely to have to pay fees for their advice.
     

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  20. Why should I pay for bulk rubbish to be collected?

    It is a legitimate charge for your block or estate and is recoverable under the lease. This is not the removal of rubbish from your bins that the council collect weekly and is paid for within your council tax. This is rubbish that has been dumped in your block or your estate and needs to be removed. If we establish the identity of the culprit who dumped the rubbish, we will endeavour to recharge them in full. If not the charge will be apportioned across the block/estate.
     

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Total results: 20