Meet our Rents & Service Charge Manager, Hugo

As his title would suggest Hugo is responsible for dealing with and helping our residents with their rents and service charges.

Discover what it's like to work in our Finance team

Hugo has worked with us at Hastoe since October 2022. His job is vital in enabling us to continue providing affordable homes for all our residents and rural communities. Here, we walk through what a typical work day looks like for Hugo at the moment. 

9:00am: The first thing Hugo does every morning is check his emails and listen to any voicemails, so he can see what queries have come in from colleagues and tenants. He says: 

Even though my role is primarily numbers-based, I have a lot of crossover and communication with other teams. I'm also in regular contact with our residents - much more so than you might expect for someone working in Finance."

11:00am: Hugo then moves on to check that the actual amount of money spent matches the amount shown leaving the accounts for the end of year service charge statements.

It is essential that all costs that have been incurred by leaseholders over the previous financial year should be recharged. However, it is also important that these charges are accurate. We need to ensure that residents are not overcharged, and thus avoid any unnecessary complaints."

1:00pm: After lunch he makes a start on preparing for the monthly rent review, which ensures that our rents and service charges increase or decrease in line with their agreements and Government guidance. Hugo pulls out the relevant data from our systems, goes over it to ensure that the correct accounts are being reviewed, calculates what the appropriate increases or decreases are and what the services charge should be. Once the review has taken place, he and his team send out letters to the residents and deal with any queries or questions that it generates. 

3:00pm: Hugo attends a Mental Health First Aid group session. This focusses on his role as a manager in supporting the health and wellbeing of his colleagues.

I was a MHFA champion in my previous organisation, where I received training and achieved my Level 3 Certificate. I am passionate about this cause, and I am delighted that I can continue this work at Hastoe.”

4:00pm: As part of his role, Hugo attends regular meetings with various teams about major works and service charges. He explains:

Many of our schemes are mixed tenure, so we have rented, leasehold and shared ownership properties. As part of their lease, the leaseholders contribute to the cost of major works, for example repairing roofs and windows. Once the works and costs have been decided between the Property Services team, Leasehold team and myself, we consult and discuss the works with the residents to try and manage their expectations, address their concerns and find a solution that works for everyone."

Hugo collaborates with lots of different departments, which for him is what makes working in rent and service charges so interesting. He says: 

Where I've worked previously it often felt like the Finance team was in its own bubble, so colleagues had this perception that Finance staff descend from upon high, tell people that their processes need improvement and then disappear. One of the things that drew me to Hastoe is that this isn't the case here, and across the Finance team we are driven to do the opposite. I get to work with every team in the organisation and help them to develop processes and solve problems - which in turn allows us to deliver a better service for our residents."

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