Council charges for leaseholders

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Thursday 12 February 2004 7.39pm
HI all
Just had a shock, I live on the Setchell estate near Grange Road,
And own the leasehold on a one bedroom flat.
the council want to replace the windows. Just got the proposed bill for just under nine thousand pounds, Im of work suffering from cancer so little money and no chance of a loan.
anyone have any experience of how negotiate LOL with the council.
think i am going to be on a hiding to nothing.
only option i can see is put it on the market to pay the bill.
which leaves me homeless (can't afford private rents)
council won't place me on a housing list as i am a homeowner.
last thing I needed half way through chemotherapy. not sure where to look for advice. any help appreciated

Martyn
Friday 13 February 2004 12.21am
Mart

I know nothing about residential leases and especially Southwark Council's leases. I am hoping some other Forum contributors might be able to offer you some advice. I vaguely remember TLMJJ putting up a listing about a leaseholder's association, so I had a look on Google. Perhaps the people below can provide you with some advice. I would also speak to a solicitor who specialises in leases ideally local authority leases. Most solicitors will speak to you over the phone for no charge to provide an initial comment. ( Do not be afraid to ring more than one firm to get a second opinion. ) However they will need to see the precise wording of any lease to advise you further. In view of your circumstances they may be willing to advise you for no charge.

I would also be tempted to pop in to the Citizen's Advice Bureau at The Blue. If you really get into difficulties do not hesitate to contact one of your ward councillors. May not be able to help directly but might influence how the Council treats your case. Also try and speak to another leaseholder on your estate with a similar sized flat to see if they have received a similar bill.

Regards Mellin

LEASE - The Leasehold Advisory Service
70-74 City Road, London, ECIY 2BJ.
Tel: 020 7490 9580 or local rate on 0845 345 1993 Fax: 020 7253 2043
Email: info@lease-advice.org Website: www.lease-advice.org
LEASE provides free advice and guidance to leaseholders and landlords on all aspects of leasehold law, including problems with service charges, the right to manage, possession proceedings and rights to lease extension and freehold acquisition. LEASE is funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the National Assembly for Wales.

Friday 13 February 2004 7.08am
Thanks Mellin

will give them a try. it's so annoying when you stuggle to buy your own home and then the council do this sort of thing.
Martyn
Friday 13 February 2004 7.33am
Mart - I think there is a Southwark Leaseholders Association? or now wonder if they all sold up and moved away...you've got enough on your plate mate...

Nine thousand pounds to replace windows? in a one bedroom flat, my giddy aunt who on earth is responsible for giving these contracts out?

are they solid oak frames or summat?

In our chat rooms there is a whole wealth of knowledge and kindness and I'm sure someone will steer you in the right direction.
:-)



jan
Friday 13 February 2004 10.16am
Mart, Gotta say that nine grand for windows in a one bed flat sounds o-u-t-r-a-g-e-o-u-s. Got a one bed myself on the Tabard Gardens Estate and they're currently doing up the windows on blocks around mine. They've not got round to my block yet but I understand the figure is in ther order of four grand and I thought that was a lot for a one bed flat.

What's more I noticed that in my insurance documents my flat's insured for a rebuild value of 65K. Is about one sixth the price likely to be windows? Doubt it. As Jan says, what the hell are they made from? Maybe gilt edged in some form of Rococo style? Nice.

As Mellin says, try to get in touch with other leaseholders in your block/estate and see what they think. I'm sure they'll be equally unhappy at the price and you could at least lobby as a group.

Again, you'll need to read your lease document but there may be something in it that says major works should be put out to tender and if so you could ask to see the other offers.

Also, get a windows/glazing firm to come round and give you a quote for doing it in the same style as the proposed ones. That might give you some ammo if it's less as a contractor should be supplying better value due to the bulk nature of the business.

Good luck! Ants
Friday 13 February 2004 10.52am
It certainly sounds an horrific figure. Under rules in force since last October, you should have been consulted on any works over 250 per flat. There is useful advice on the website of national bodyLEASE - the Leasehold Advisory Service

Southwark Council's Housing Department
claims that there is a Leaseholders Council and that you have a local representative.
It may also be useful to approach your ward councillor.



Post edited (13 Feb 04 11:03)
Friday 13 February 2004 12.00pm

Nine grand can't be right - on Sumner Bldgs where they ar up the scaffolding at the moment, a one bed is 3 or 4.

I seem to remember that the Council may be obliged to offer you a loan (at a fair rate and over a long time period) for any annual service charge over a certain amount (this sounds like it might qualify).

Best of luck.
Friday 13 February 2004 12.31pm
Hello,

Good i saw this thread! i have just moved to a 1 bed flat in a Council Estate, am the leaseholder too, and although i have been there only for 10 days, i have already asked the Council if i can do my own double glazing, so far they have said yes in principle (i need that in writing too), i think if i do it myself might be cheaper, but Mart, you have scared me shitless when you mention 9k!!! how many windows do you have???? i only got 3 windows (two big and one small) and the balcony door/window, surely that won't cost me that much??

What i don't know is if i do my own double glazing, will i still have to pay something to the Council if they decide to do the whole block in the future... this is really terrifying to say the least, but i have known people that had to sell as they couldn't afford it.

My friends got a bill of 21k for central heating, double glazing and external redecorations, and that was just 3 months after she bought the flat...

before i bought mine my solicitors asked if they had any plans of doing major works, and so far i have in writing from Southwark Council that they are not planning anything big for the next 2 years but they can't be trusted!

Make sure you ask for advice, if the Council gives you the specifications of the windows, you might as well get your own from somewhere else... i bet they will be cheaper than 9k!

Flipper
xx
Friday 13 February 2004 12.36pm
Just been on to the council
Had one guy virtually shouting down the phone at me (made sure a complaint has gone in about him)
most of the cost seems to be admin and scaffolding. 27k just to put scaffolding round my block.
out of their extimate of 192k for my block only 32k is the cost of the windows themselves. and the council have the cheek to charge me 330 in extra managemnt fees as well to cover there expenses dealing with it.
someone is earing big money out of this.
they did say the are washing the drain pipes too so I guess thats where the extra money has gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i spoke to the payment people, they haven't got a clue.
one said they might be able to put a charge on your property (with interest of course) so when you sell you pay them, although by then probably be more around 20k. but they haven't drawn up the scheme yet so have no idea of costs.
Friday 13 February 2004 12.37pm
Just had a response from John Everett who heads Tabard Gardens TMC and he suggested a figure of three grand for current windows for a one bedroom flat (five windows, two large, one medium, two small) going into blocks on Tabard Gardens Estate. These are 'tilt and turn' style in white PVC I believe. There's also an option for spreading costs.

I'm aware that things may be different on a direct council run estate rather than tenant/resident run but there's no way that that accounts for windows at treble the price.
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