Islington leaseholder's financial despair

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Monday 31 October 2005 6.16pm
I am wondering whether SE1 leaseholders' in council properties are being crippled by un-regulated major repair costs?

In Islington, where I live on the Spa Green Estate by Sadlers Wells Theatre, costs are running wild with leaseholders being charged anything up to UKú41,000.00p for new windows, re-decoration and general repairs. Unlike some properties in the borough there are no regulations or much protection for what leaseholders can be charged?

I am trying to persuade leaseholders across london to lobby their MP's about this scandalous issue.

You can find out more about my situation at:
http://www.spagreen.co.uk

best wishes,

Jon
Monday 31 October 2005 6.35pm
I thought that someone in somewhere like Greenwich had recently won a battle about unreasonable costs, by going to the some sort of Tribunal. This follows on from other victories in West London. The organisation LEASE is very helpful and should be able to point you in the right direction.

Monday 31 October 2005 7.07pm
Jehovah almighty - who greased someones sweaty palm for that contract? what you need is publicity...contact the BBC.....what appalling workmanship, I could do better even balancing on me stick!

How many properties on the estate? seems they will be getting as much money as the Earl of wessex's place..******** disgusting..
Monday 31 October 2005 11.19pm
There are LOTS of regulations about unreasonableness, which apply to all boroughs. As Sarah says, LEASE can provide details. You must make your objections at the correct points in the process though, so dont hang about when you get letters about this.
Tuesday 1 November 2005 1.03am
Ditto
LEASE very helpful.
Also contact the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) direct for advice.
Anything that constitutes 'major works' which am sure applies in your case falls under their remit. They also have a comprehensive database of past cases they have heard which is v. useful. They have fixed fees so if a bunch of you feel you have a case you can plead jointly and share the cost which isn't that great anyway.
Had dealings with them a few years ago re overpriced 'refurbishing' from our (mis)managing agents who agreed to shave 60% of the cost rather than go to LVT tribunal.
Although LVT cannot recommend advocates because they are impartial you can track those down by looking at past cases which are fully logged on their website.
Thoroughly recommend you do so as you can get initial prognosis for free and know you are dealing with advocates who have a track record.
Tuesday 1 November 2005 8.23am
Thanks for the tips sarah. I'll look into the Greenwich case. I have also looked at LVT, and to that end leaseholders at Spa Green have formed a leaseholders association.

My longterm worry though is that because there seems to be no regulation in place -theoretically we could get another massive bill in just a very few years time.. Anyway, thanks again for pointers.
Tuesday 1 November 2005 8.26am

>contact the BBC.....what appalling
> workmanship,


Yes that's why we made the website.. I think some leaseholders at Spa Green are on Watchdog next Monday!
But if there is anybody else out there who's in a similar predicament, can I urge you to lobby your MP's and councillors.


Tuesday 1 November 2005 8.27am
> They also have a comprehensive database of past
> cases they have heard which is v. useful.

Hey that sounds really great -I had no idea this resource existed. Thanks for the tip

best wishes,

Jon
http://www.spagreen.co.uk

Tuesday 1 November 2005 9.41am
The big repairs are almost certainly part of the Government's Decent Homes initiative, where Councils are compelled to bring their stock up to scratch within a certain time period. From memory it is about 2010, though I am not sure if all will meet this.

So be reassured that once your block is done the Council should be moving on to others, and not come back to you for a number of years.

Jackie will be pleased to hear that this piece of policy comes under John Prescott. Cue the Jackie Prescott rant :)

Actually Decent Homes on its own is probably not a bad thing as plenty of social housing stock was below par. What appears to be wrong is the costs and processes, and the courts seem to be supporting leaseholders on this.

It will almost certainly be a tough fight so good luck.







Tuesday 1 November 2005 9.52am
> The big repairs are almost certainly part of the
> Government's Decent Homes initiative, where
> Councils are compelled to bring their stock up to
> scratch within a certain time period. From memory
> it is about 2010

Yes you're right it is, and it will be the first time anything has been done on Spa Green Estate since at least 1971. In past years the estate has been so neglected that insurance policies were voided (another separate scandal) which just adds and adds to the stacking up of costs. It's all part of the messy legacy of right to buy...

> So be reassured that once your block is done the
> Council should be moving on to others, and not
> come back to you for a number of years.

Well I hope you're right. Our current information suggests that cyclical repairs which currently stand at 7years are to be reduced to five years then three years and because there is no rolling cap in place, then theoretically leaseholders could be charged scores of thousands of pounds every three years --I'm hoping they wouldn't dare, but I'd rather have legistlation than have to rely on the good faith of the council!! It also seems that council tenants maintenance charges will increase and also be pulled outside benefit cover --this is how the tenants will be penalised according to a representative of the Federation of Islington Tenants Associations.

> Actually Decent Homes on its own is probably not a
> bad thing as plenty of social housing stock was
> below par.

Agreed

What appears to be wrong is the costs
> and processes, and the courts seem to be
> supporting leaseholders on this.
>
> It will almost certainly be a tough fight so good
> luck.
>

Thanks so much. I know it's not exactly SE1 this --but we're close relatives in EC1 :)

best wishes,

Jon

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