Southwark Leaseholders Major Works changes

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Friday 11 September 2009 8.37am
Hi, I received a letter about this recently - changes to the way the council are going to be managing major works contracts. Quite a bit of legal stuff and a hearing in October to make a decision on whether the changes can be applied to anyone holding a lease for an ex-council property in Southwark. I'm a leaseholder of such a property and wondered if anyone else had any thoughts on whether the changes sound good or bad...and if so what options we might have available to us?
Friday 11 September 2009 8.53am
This is something that has always puzzled me, on lucey way few years back, they wanted to charge the leasholders 9 thousand pounds for new windows. There was quite a debate on these prices, hypothetically if there are twenty flats in a block and the council get quoted 90 thousand do they just levy a charge against the ten leasholders of 9 thousand!

There are numerous threads on here about major works charges/service charges from southwark. Is the hearing going to be an open one? do you know what day, time etc.,?
Friday 11 September 2009 9.25am
yes, its at 10am on 19th October at 10 Alfred Place WC1E 7LR apparently. The crux of it says "the council proposing to change the way major works contracts are managed...the council propose to enter into a long term agreement with a number of contractors to deliver major works across the borough...rather than tender each contract individually" They say that the key change from this is that "the council would not be able to provide service charge costs for individual leaseholders before the agreement was entered into.." I am wondering whether this means that costs will effectively go up if the council no longer puts major works out to tender for best quotes, etc and just gives a single contractor a long term deal - who knows he can then charge inflated prices as the contract is secured. Or maybe I'm wide of the mark...
Friday 11 September 2009 11.24am
What would happen if the contract was awarded to one main company and sub-contractors were rubbish? would southwrk still be liable to stick with the one firm? just thinking out loud! and why are they having a meeting out of the Borough? and in working hours so any interested leaseholder would find it difficult to get there?

you sound very much on the nail!
Friday 11 September 2009 2.59pm
I seem to have lost a reply whilst the thread moved. I'll try again.
The section 20 laws are fairly clear on the fact that freeholders have to get several quotes for major works, and let you present your own contractor's quote. If the council tries to weasel out of this I suggest a call to the LVT office for advice and perhaps remind them of their responsibilities as freeholders. It would appear that this is exactly what the council is trying to do as the address of the October meeting is that of the LVT office. I suggest any Southwark leaseholders who are concerned that their rights will be reduced should arrange to attend this meeting. If the council win this change it would allow them to charge you all a huge sum for these major works as the contractors they use are usually the most expensive. The very least you should do is retain the right to get an alternative quote for major works to keep the contractors the council employ on their toes.
Tuesday 15 September 2009 12.24pm
Council leader Nick Stanton was asked about this by the overview and scrutiny committee last night. He said:

"part of the drive is to lower costs"

and"

"Hopefully costs [for leaseholders] won't be as large and outlandish as we've sometimes found"

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Wednesday 21 October 2009 12.41am
Any news on this - did the hearing take place?
Wednesday 21 October 2009 3.38pm
The hearing was announced for the 19th, then moved to the 13th and held in the morning for two hours, which wasn't nearly long enough. (2 hrs)

The meeting has now been moved to early January and will be held over three or possibly four days.

Again, the hours will be in working hours, but anyone wanting to attend should call the home ownership unit of southwark council to find out LVT hearing about the "Major works partnering contract" will be taking place.
Wednesday 21 October 2009 6.56pm
BTW - if anyone geeky wants to see the actual substance of the Council proposal, it's here:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AXtERbFbUr3lZGN0amRiaGRfMTI5ZmtuY3JtZ2c&hl=en_GB

and the LVT can be contacted here: http://www.rpts.gov.uk/about_us/lvt.htm

I'm not convinced it's a bad idea, but the council really hasn't done a good job of conveying the message with their recent letter.
Thursday 22 October 2009 4.59pm
The revised dates are 6th 7th and 8th January with a further day of 11th if necessary. 9.30 start
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