Has anyone been through and won / lost in a battle against Southwark Council after they tried to impose new windows on their block?
We learnt last night from a local councillor that new windows are pencilled in at Perronet House for later this decade. Several of us don't welcome this. Here's the case against the windows, just in case anyone shares my view and has advice about how to make the case against this 'investment'.
- Our windows are galvanised steel and more than half the surface area is already double glazed
- The council have neglectfully tolerated the installation of single glazed panes when a breakage of a double glazed panes has been needed
- Perronet House is chronically over heated due to poorly insulated pipe work for the hot water and heating. I have a "hot cupboards" in my kitchen that food cannot be stored in, a hallway cupboard that is a furnace and a wall in my living room that is perpetually hot. It would require council investment to reduce this wastage
- On a typically mild winter's day you'll see many Perronet House windows open because a flat's temperature cannot be easily controlled and they are often over heated rather than chilly.
- Our communal heating system has no thermostatic control in the flats. If every radiator in each room had a thermostatic valve rooms would be less likely to over heat or get cold
- I know many neighbours with radiators that need 'bleeding'. One in this situation was heating his flat with his gas cooker because he was so cold. I doubt the council has helped tenants or leaseholds bleed their radiators, even with some advice in this direction.
- Our windows have asbestos window sills. Based on past experience of major works here the council has no record or understanding of the position and extent of asbestos in the building and will not have factored in this cost to the plans.
- The windows extend across the east and west facade of every major room in the house. Those with fitted kitchens will have a wall of the kitchen destroyed if the windows are torn out and replaced. Their installation is a very significant disruption.
- Aesthetically our windows 'make' Perronet House, both inside and out.
- We're already each about £13,000 in debt towards major works. We don't want more major costs any time soon.
Recommendation for "Warm Homes Investment":
- Bleed radiators
- Fit thermostatic valves to radiators
- Insulate any drafty windows with plastic excluders
- Insulate internal pipework
- Provide reflective panels behind radiators
- If really necessary instal secondary glazing but do not remove the existing windows
Does any of the above trigger some nods, shakes of heads? Advice welcome.
I'm on the Vauban Estate on Spa Road and a group of leaseholders there recently went to the LVT regarding (among other things) major works replacing our windows.
The windows had originally been single glazed, alot of which had been replaced by double glazing as and when required - so we had a mix of single and odd double glazing.
In the major works, they wanted to replace all the windows with matching double glazing. We went to the LVT to say that it was unreasonable to charge us to replacing double glazed with double glazed (ie we would pay for the single glazed replacements) and won. All the windows were replaced, but we only had to pay for the proportion that were single glazed (if that makes sense?).
Two things really helped us - a report on the estate(made by southwark to assess the estate and state the major works required, which you should be able to get from southwark if it exists - which it should) and the citizen advice bureau. Definitely go there if you have time...they have a dedicated person in the blue to deal with leasehold issues and he is really good at looking at the case objectively and seeing whether you should pay the fee to go to the LVT.
Sorry to come late to this, but here are a few thoughts.
- The windows in your flat (and your front door) are the Council's responsibility in terms of maintenance/repair/replacement as detailed in your lease. This is because they count as part of the fabric of the building.
So although you're responsible for most of the things that happen inside your flat (right down to wiring) - and problem with your windows or front doors should be done by the Council.
- The council's criteria for 'decent homes' work now is warm, safe and dry. Although you go through a lot of the reasons about warm (though you add that some people are cold) - the main reasons for systematic window replacements are safe and dry. The first thing to do is to ask the council about the Stock
Condition Survey for your block and asks why it thinks you need your windows replacing.
Some of the key reasons for replacing windows could be due to the windows getting past the end of their life and letting (or risk of letting) damp into the fabric of the building.
It could be the windows are hard to maintain/repair (certainly from what you say about single/double glazed panels)
It could be that your windows don't give appropriate fire protection (either because they're getting old, or because the standards were different when they were first fitted)
So the two questions are:
* Does the work need to be done? (and there may be a justification that isn't clear to the naked eye)
* Do leaseholders need to pay for it (as Lake's experience shows us)
We have just undergone major works in my block and our situation was different - we needed new windows. My only advice is that, should you be unsuccessful, you get everything that has been promised put in writing and signed by the Project Manager. Identify everything that may be 'altered' by the works and make sure you agree the condition it will be left in when work has been finished, right down to re-plastering and redecoration. Check that they have done a full asbestos report and ask to see it. In my block we ended up with an additional cost for asbestos removal because the council didn't do a full survey.