Government’s approach to dangerous Grenfell-style cladding replacement consistent

Grim it may be, but the government’s approach to getting dangerous Grenfell-style cladding replaced on tower blocks certainly appears consistent. Credit: Private Eye, Housing News

 

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Invitation to free webinar on consultation re consumer redress in housing market

Register now for the free webinar

LEASE is hosting a free webinar to help you make an informed contribution to the Government’s consultation  Strengthening consumer redress in the housing market’.

The webinar will be presented by our experienced advisers, Nicholas Kissen and Kavita Bharti.

The webinar is on Monday 26 March 2018, 7pm – 8:30pm. Click here to register.

The Government is concerned that the current landscape is confusing for consumers both in terms of the number of schemes, differences in practices, and gaps where consumers have no recourse to redress. As a consequence the consultation explores and questions:

improving ‘in–house’ complaint processes, to ensure that issues get resolved as quickly as possible;

the practices and functions that should be expected of redress schemes and the powers that they need to do this;

How to fill existing gaps in redress, with a particular focus on private tenants, buyers of new build homes and leaseholders; and

The case for streamlining and improving services for consumers through the creation of a single housing ombudsman service.

Responses to the consultation should be submitted no later than midnight on 16 April 2018. You are encouraged to respond by completing an online survey.

Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in the consultation to – Housingredress@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Written responses should be sent to:

Social Housing Division, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Third Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF

Site Allocations Direction of Travel Consultation (Homes, Work & other spaces) – Have Your Say

Islington council is consulting on the Site Allocations Direction of Travel Document and is seeking feedback until 26 March 2018.

The Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) is a key document within Islington’s Local Plan. Site allocations provide site specific policy for key sites to help secure specific land uses, meet identified development needs and ensure the infrastructure required to support growth is in place. The DPD is used alongside relevant planning policies to guide decision-making on planning applications relating to allocated sites.

Over 150 sites have been identified, which could accommodate new housing, workspaces, shops, open spaces, or leisure and community facilities. The council is inviting feedback on the proposed site allocations. Any comments received during the consultation period will be used to inform the drafting of the final version of the document.

You can view the Site Allocations Direction of Travel document via the link: www.islington.gov.uk/consultations.

Hard copies of the draft document are available to view at all Islington libraries.

Have your say

You can make comments on the draft document:

·         by email to planningpolicy@islington.gov.uk

·         in writing to Planning Policy Team, Freepost RTXU-ETKU-KECB, Planning Policy, Islington Council, Town Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD.

Please send your comments by midnight on Monday 26 March 2018.

Yours Sincerely
Planning Policy Team

London Borough of Islington

ILA Meet Wed 11.04.18

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 11th  April 2018

In

Islington Town Hall

At

7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speaker: To be advised

 

Website www.ila.org.uk

Twitter @ilaorguk

Face Book www.facebook.com/IslingtonLeaseholdersAssociation

 

Volunteers wanted

 The ILA are looking for a ‘secretary’ to take minutes and distribute them regularly to all the directors and asks for a volunteer to undertake this essential part of the work, to assist with the smooth running of the organisation.  If you are interested please log into http://www.ila.org.uk/faqs/contact-form.

 

If you wish to join or renew your membership please contact our website ww.ila.org.uk where you can obtain the appropriate membership forms

Freehold of ‘worst leasehold abuse’ block sold for £180,000

Anonymous buyer picks up right to collect soaring ground rents on Blythe Court flats from freeholder MPs called ‘crook’

The freehold to a block of flats in Birmingham regarded as the worst example of leasehold abuse in the country has been snapped up by an anonymous buyer for £180,000.

The deal leaves buyers of the small one-bedroom flats – who thought they would be paying just £250 a year in ground rent – locked into bills of up to £8,000 a year and ultimately spiralling to £8m a year over the life of the lease. Read More

Private Eye -High-rise, higher costs

From Private EYE –  Cladding safety, Issue 1462

IT WAS always hopeless optimism on the part of communities secretary Sajid Javid to think wealthy speculators in the freeholds of private blocks of flats would pay to remove Grenfell-type cladding. And so it has proved.

As Eye 1457 reported in November, the Tchenguiz Family Trust, based in the British Virgin Islands, is off to court to dump the £2m cost on 97 leaseholders at Citiscape in Croydon – that’s around £20,000 per flat owner, most on low incomes.

At Heysmoor Heights in Toxteth, Liverpool, where the 98 flats sell for less than £100,000, Abacus Land 4 Ltd, a Guernsey company, is demanding £18,000 from each leaseholder. It is administered by the Long Harbour/Homeground fund of David Cameron’s brother-in-law Will Astor, the heir to the viscountcy. This opens up the spectacle of hard-pushed flat owners, who cannot pay, possibly losing their homes through lease forfeiture to an offshore entity where the beneficial ownership is hidden – and where they may have benefited from tax advantages.

Astor’s spokesman, the former Tory MP turned PR smoothie Adrian Flook, assured the Eye the offshore owners of the freehold to Heysmoor were “exclusively UK-based pension and life insurance funds”. As they are all UK tax-exempt, he added, there are therefore no tax advantages, and registration in Guernsey is for “administrative efficiency” only.

‘Saving its skin’
Flook, who works for Sir Lynton Crosby’s lobbying firm Crosby Textor, also said Abacus had “swiftly and voluntarily” injected £750,000 on to the leaseholders’ service charge – as a loan – to cover interim fire wardens as well as building costs. He claimed that without this generosity the residents would have had to move, which would have been even more expensive.

However, Sebastian O’Kelly of the campaign charity the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, said: “Contrarily, one could say that Abacus has imposed a £750,000 loan and then proceeded to spend it as it chose. This wasn’t philanthropy; the freeholder was saving its skin with the fire authorities.

“Flook’s blather would be more weighty if Astor’s Homeground did not also charge old ladies £50 to keep a cat, and demand £108 to consider a freehold purchase – all familiar ploys in the leasehold game, which Astor spent six years learning at Vincent Tchenguiz’s side.”

To date, 17 freeholders are off to court to let a tribunal decide whether the terms of the leases mean hapless leaseholders have to pick up the tab for removing dangerous cladding.

One particular case would be notably unjust. A vast 980-flat development, New Capital Quay in Greenwich, which also has Grenfell-style aluminium composite material (ACM), was completed by Galliard Homes only four years ago. The freeholder remains Galliard’s own company, Roamquest Ltd.

‘Absolutely clobbered’
Huge sums are being racked up to provide fire marshals, and Galliard is showing every sign that it expects the leaseholders to cough up to remove the cladding that it put up itself. If the cladding and safety costs are as extensive as at Citiscape in Croydon, the total could be as much as £19m.

Local Labour MP Matthew Pennycook told the Commons before Christmas that leaseholders “bought their properties in good faith and bear no responsibility whatever for failures in the building regulations regime, but as things stand they are going to be absolutely clobbered”.

So far, the only freeholder to agree to pay to remove Grenfell-style cladding is Legal & General at the Blenheim Centre/Reflexion site in Hounslow, west London, where the bill may exceed £10m. Unlike Astor’s clients, it has not chosen to hide its ownership.

Elsewhere, Javid’s pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Will we have to wait until it’s too late and the courts have decided the leaseholders are liable before the government intervenes?

ILA Meet Wed 14.03.18

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 14th March 2018

In

Islington Town Hall

At

7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speakers: Mr Nicholas Kissen Senior Adviser and Ms Kavita Bharti A Legal Adviser at The Leasehold Advisory Service. A short presentation followed by questions and answers.

Please click on the “Lease” links below.

Website www.ila.org.uk

Twitter @ilaorguk

Face Book www.facebook.com/IslingtonLeaseholdersAssociation

Volunteers wanted

The ILA are looking for a ‘secretary’ to take minutes and distribute them regularly to all the directors and asks for a volunteer to undertake this essential part of the work, to assist with the smooth running of the organisation. If you are interested please log into http://www.ila.org.uk/faqs/contact-form.

If you wish to join or renew your membership please contact our website ww.ila.org.uk where you can obtain the appropriate membership forms.

Please impress upon any other leaseholders that it is in their interest to attend these meetings regularly…..

 

Landmark leasehold case fails to slash extension costs

Campaigners vow to fight on after appeal court rules in favour of leading London freeholder .  (The Guardian)

Campaigners have failed in a long-running legal battle to slash leasehold costs after the court of appeal ruled in favour of a major London freeholder.

The case, Mundy v the Sloane Stanley Estate, involved a small flat in Chelsea where the lease had fallen to less than 23 years and the freeholder was seeking £420,000 to agree an extension

Campaigners had hoped that a ruling could slice as much as half off the cost of extending a lease or buying a freehold. But the court found in favour of the Sloane Stanley Estate, in a major victory for owners of freehold land, such as the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estate.

The challenge had been led by surveyor James Wyatt of Parthenia Valuation, who argued that a system of lease valuation commissioned on behalf of the Duke of Westminster more than 20 years ago was invalid.

But lawyers acting on behalf of the Sloane Stanley Estate, which controls land around London’s Sloane Square, King’s Road and Fulham Road, said the Parthenia valuation model proposed by Wyatt was now “consigned to history”. More Info

Anger as thousands unaware they face a ‘second mortgage’

Calls for the delay of a new loan set to replace a state-backed benefit in just 10 weeks’ time     Shane Hickey  ( The Guardian)   Mon 5 Feb 2018 

Many poorer families could be in danger of having their home repossessed as a state-backed benefit is taken away.

The government has been called on to delay a new “second mortgage” scheme, which replaces a benefit for homeowners on low incomes, after just one in 20 affected households have signed up for it.

From April, the government is axing “support for mortgage interest” (SMI) which helps financially constrained homeowners with their mortgage. It will be replaced with a controversial system where the government offers to loan people the money, which will be repaid later with interest.

However, new figures have shown that just 6,850 households have signed up for the scheme out of the 124,000 currently receiving the SMI benefit, prompting calls for the changeover to be delayed.  more info 

 

ILA Meet Wed 14.02.18

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 14th  February 2018

In

Islington Town Hall

At

7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speaker: To be advised

 

Website www.ila.org.uk

Twitter @ilaorguk

Face Book www.facebook.com/IslingtonLeaseholdersAssociation

 

Volunteers wanted

 The ILA are looking for a ‘secretary’ to take minutes and distribute them regularly to all the directors and asks for a volunteer to undertake this essential part of the work, to assist with the smooth running of the organisation.  If you are interested please log into http://www.ila.org.uk/faqs/contact-form.

 

If you wish to join or renew your membership please contact our website ww.ila.org.uk where you can obtain the appropriate membership forms.

Housing Scrutiny-Information on Partners Resident Scrutiny Arrangements Meeting Tuesday 6th February 2018.

In advance of next week’s Housing Scrutiny meeting which will be considering the performance of Partners, please find attached a note submitted by a Partners tenant on the organisation’s resident scrutiny arrangements. This may inform discussions at the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 6th February, 2018, at 7.30pm in Committee Room 4. The pre-meeting will be held from 7-pm in Committee Room 3, at Islington Town Hall.

Please click on this link –PartnersResidentScrutinyNote2018.pdf