We’re really sorry that our grass cutting service has not been up to the standard that you (or we) would expect.
This isn't the service we want to deliver, and we want to put it right as soon as possible.
Latest update, 20 June
There has been some progress. We have now completed a rough cut almost everywhere (either through CGM or another local contractor).
Our next priority is to cut the grass again (cut and collect this time on all estates where we’d usually offer this service). Our contractors are required to complete this by 15 July.
We know things are far from ideal, but we’re working to make things right. We’ve had a high volume of enquiries from customers (understandably so), which means there might be a delay on our usual response times. We’re sorry if you have been waiting for an individual response from us.
We’re keeping this page updated, so please read below, you can find many of our frequently asked questions and get answers instantly. To highlight a couple of common questions:
Why haven’t they picked up the grass clippings?
We asked our contractor to get everywhere cut – as a start, to get things under control. If we normally collect the clippings, we’ve asked them to come back and do this with their second cut. On some estates we don’t collect the clippings normally. A ‘box cut’ (i.e. a cut and collect) is more expensive so last year we gave you the option to vote on the level of service you wanted. What you get depends on how your estate voted – find out more….
Why are you charging more for this service?
It is complicated – but our grass cutting service charges have gone down. Your overall rent / service charges may have gone up this year. This will be for other reasons or because other services have gone up in cost - see here to understand rents for 2023-24.
We will continue to monitor CGM’s service. If things have not improved significantly, we will look to employ a different contractor.
Last year, we saw a trends in complaints which told us our grass cutting service wasn't meeting your expectations.
So back in September 2022, we went out to get a new supplier, shortlisted two options and asked you to help us decide.
CGM received the highest votes and their contract started with us at the beginning of April.
We know how important it is to you to keep communal gardens and grass areas around your estate looking their best, and we hoped that you would see an improvement in the service that you receive.
Unfortunately, due to a difficulty in recruiting staff, the contractor is behind schedule and the quality is not up to standard. We know many of you have been waiting several weeks for your communal grass to be cut.
We will continue to do so and, if the service does not significantly improve, we will seek an alternative contractor.
Thank you for bearing with us. We will do all we can to improve this service as quickly as possible.
- We've been in talks with the contractor since April to express our disappointment and set out our expectations going forward.
- We've brought in extra contractors. This is a temporary fix to help while we work out a longer-term solution.
- CGM has also taken on one new member of the team and will continue to recruit.
- We agreed that CGM should do a ‘rough cut’ (where they cut and then leave the grass behind) to make sure everywhere gets a cut asap. If your estate is usually meant to have a box cut (where the grass is picked up and taken away), CGM will come back to collect the grass later on.
We are in regular contact with the contractor, monitoring their work and passing on your feedback to them.
Your grass shouldn’t get any longer than 6cm (gardens) and 30cm (verges) before its cut.*
For the reasons we have explained above, this hasn’t been happening. We don’t think this is acceptable and are working to get things back on track.
*We don’t manage grass cutting in all areas. For example:
- If you live in a house with a private front / back garden, you’ll be responsible for cutting there grass there.
- Some areas are cut by Broxbourne Borough Council, depending on who owns the land. Sometimes B3Living-owned land and council-owned land are right beside each other, so it can be confusing! Generally, we don’t do public spaces such as cemeteries, public playgrounds, highway verges, etc.
- If your estate has a management company they will arrange grass cutting. This usually applies on estates where there are private homes as well as B3Living homes.
This is something we will need to look at towards the end of the year when we know our total costs.
If you’re a leaseholder, this will be reflected in your final accounts which will come through in September 2024.
But we should be transparent and mention that your overall service charge covers lots of other things.
If we just look at grounds maintenance, the average charge for this service is £1.36 per week.
Also, even if you have a grounds maintenance charge, this may include gardening for shrubs or trees as well as the grass, and those services are going ahead as normal.
The cost for grass cutting service has gone down.
How much will depend on which service your estate voted for - a "box cut" is more expensive than a "rough cut".
But your overall rent / service charges may have gone up this year. This will be for other reasons or because other services have gone up in cost - see here to understand rents for 2023-24.
It depends on what you pay for in your service charge.
There are two types of grass cut:
- Standard cut / ‘rough cut’ – where the grass cuttings are left.
- Box cut – where the cuttings are picked up and taken away.
About 70% of our homes have a standard ‘rough’ cut and 30% have a box cut. When we did our consultation last year (see here), we asked you which you preferred.
A box cut typically costs more.
Your votes influenced what type of cut you get on your estate.
If it's B3Living-owned land, we will be responsible for getting a contractor to cut the grass.
Unfortunately, this can be confusing! Sometimes our land will be next door to land owned by Broxbourne Borough Council, or on larger estates there might be a management company in place.
We certainly didn't intentionally do 'No Mow May'!
We do care about biodiversity and the environment. But customer feedback also tells us that having tidy communal gardens is really important to you - so we did plan to cut the grass this May.