I live in Holford house, and have just been given notice they plan to replace the windows etc. I have read somewhere they can charge up to 22,000!!! At this stage is there a way I can get out of paying this?? What if I replace them myself to match? (at 1/4 of the price). I dont even want them done really!
This is the joy of being a leaseholder. When you bought your home you signed up to a series of legal obligations in your lease (and the
Council has a series of obligations to you).
Because the Council has an obligation to keep the fabric of the building functional and up-to-spec then the council takes charge of important exterior things like windows. (you'll probably find that your lease also means that the council is responsible for the repair and upkeep of your front door as well).
Though this might feel infuriating, imagine the case where you had constant leaks and damp in your flat because the person who lives upstairs had had their windows replaced by 'a mate from down the pub' who hadn't done it properly. And of course windows (and front doors) are some of the main protection in the case of a fire in your block.
So the simple answer is that you can't get out of something you're legally signed up to. It's the downside of Leasehold.
However you have some very powerful rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended). This means that you pay only your fair share of the work that takes place - nothing more and nothing less.
So if there are 30 flats in your block, you pay your 30th share of the work done that applies to the flat (eg window replacement, exterior decoration etc).
You get to be consulted about the cost and you have the right to see all the invoices that the council spent (so if you get charged for the contractors mobile phones and you don't think you should, then you have a right of appeal). If the council can't find/ justify all the invoices for your bill, you have the right to pay only your share of what they can justify.
You'll have been sent two different notices about your rights of consultation under the law (these are called 'section 20 notices'). This should give you an idea of how much it should cost for you in your block.
Why does it cost so much? Some of the things that really push the cost of this work up are things you don't really think about. The cost of scaffolding will be a big bit of the bill - this really runs up if scaffolding is up for, say, 6 months. There may also be things that you don't see - like roof replacement, replacement to the mains supply to the block, concrete repairs, which also contribute to the cost.
So it's not cheap, but you have the right to appeal anything that the council can't justify.