Chris Briere-Edney suggests a response to the “Notices of Proposal to enter into a long term agreement ” letter from HFI,
Home Ownership Manager
Dear Mr Freeman
Objections to Capital and Cyclical Works New Long Term Agreement from 2010
There are a number of concerns that I, as a leaseholder, have with this proposed Long Term Agreement.
What is proposed is a 4 year contract (with an option to extend to 10 years) commencing from the end of October 2010.
In the previous Long Term Agreement, the prices that leaseholders have had to pay for both capital and cyclical works were often considered to be extortionate.
Leaseholders have obtained quotations which have been far less than what they have been charged by HFI.
The quality of the work is often of the lowest possible standard. In a recent hearing at the LVT it was noted that a hallway had to be repainted 3 times and even then the standard was barely acceptable.
In the current economic climate, no right minded company would give out long term contracts. Having paid over the odds in the past when the building trade was booming now is the time to look at all works and to guarantee that the very best prices will be achieved. This is not possible once a long term contract is entered into.
In 2008 the Report of Performance Review Committee on the HFI Capital Programme Scrutiny Review, Chaired by Paul Convery for Islington Council, queried the value of these long term contracts.
The following are taken from that Review:-
5.13 The Committee felt that it was very important to listen to the concerns of leaseholders given the complaints that had been raised in relation to the quality of the works and the costs payable by leaseholders.
5.24 The consultation process with leaseholders and tenants was also raised as an area where improvements could be made.
In the Recommendations:-
11. We have found that the programme of pre-works consultation does not seem to effectively engage with residents.
13. The Committee experienced considerable difficulty in discovering why work appeared to be costed significantly higher when undertaken by framework contractors compared with the prices of similar products supplied by household-name firms. …We recommend that further investigation is undertaken to establish and explain why there appears to be such significant value for money discrepancies.
In a subsequent letter to the then Leader of the Council, James Kempton, about the Performance Review Committee’s report, the Chairman, Paul Convery stated that there was no credible explanation as to why works were costed considerabley higher when supplied by a framework contractor.
In the light of the above, and with the full support of the Islington Leaseholders Association, I feel that it is not in the best interests of leaseholders, tenants and borough wide Council Tax payers for HFI to enter any Long Term Agreements at this time.
Copy to Catherine West, Leader of the Council, Town Hall, Upper St. N1