Wednesday 15 January 2014 1.28am
I believe the council now offers interest free payments for longer than 3 years. I would contact them and ask if you can have it over 5 years, given how large the bill is. A leaseholder meeting is a good approach, as you can contact the council as a group and ask them to consider giving you even longer to pay (as £33,000 over 5 years is still a lot). You can also ask your local councillor to get involved.
I asked about getting a longer term (but not interest free) loan from the council, and I recall it was cheaper than putting it on my mortgage, so make sure you check out all of the options.
Longer repayment terms should now also be possible. not sure if it's only 48 months or longer. But even if you split 33K over 48 month you still end up having to pay roughly £690/ month. Not really very affordable either in my view.
I think there is usually also an option called 'discretionary service charge loan offer'. This would be a loan term over 25 years at 1.5% above the base rate of Nat West Bank, provided there is sufficient equity in the property. Likely here would be an application fee in region of maybe £500, which covers the councils costs for securing the loan against your property (basically a second charge in the Land Registery. This would be obviously much more manageable on a monthly basis but not interest free.
All the payment options should be listed right before the "Leaseholder Observation Form.