Court Refuse Islington Council Appeal; Watch Dispatches, Channel 4 TV

From The Islington Gazette 16.08.2012

Days before a TV expose about leaseholder overcharging featuring Islington Council, a group of  Islington Residents hope that their battle is at an end after the council was refused permission to appeal a ruling that it blew £1 million on housing improvements.

Mondays edition of investigative channel 4 show Dispatches features the Tremlett Grove Estate in Archway which was the subject   of  a leaseholder valuation tribunal ( LVT) in April. It found that the council paid over the odds for work on two blocks.

The ruling meant the council will have to refund around £16000 to each of the 14 leaseholders affected.   more council lose appeal again

 

Dispatches TV pgm c4 -Monday 20 August 8pm – The truth about leaseholds

(set your video recorders)

Listed Building Consents on works done by Council Agent

Islington Council ( PFI) managing agent for street properties “Partners” have recently said that they will only obtain Listed Building Consents (LBC)/ planning permissions on works that they have done on properties in conservation areas or that are listed buildings IF the matter is brought to the attention of Partners directly by the resident concerned.
Islingtons  Planning Conservation department on the other hand says that ” that unauthorised works carried out to listed buildings is a criminal offence. As such persons with a material interest in the property may be liable to prosecution”
Leaseholder may also find that they have an issue if they ever wish to sell their properties, and they need to obtains the the LBC’s to give to potential buyers. Trying to get consents from Partners  in 2 or 10 year after works have been done may be tricky.
The ILA can’t give advice, so this shouldn’t be taken as such, but If your a leaseholder in a Conservation Area or Listed building you may want to check with the Islington Council conservation section of the Planning Department. whether the Major Works  that Partners have done on your property should have had or require LBC., and if so bring it directly to Partners attention.
Please also let the ILA know if the Councils planning department  confirm that council’s  agents (  e.g. Partners,[the former] HFI etc) or Housing Property Services have done works to your property without getting the appropriate consents. contact

Tribunal Tells Managing Agent: Be Reasonable, They Can’t Afford To Pay

Thursday, 17th November 2011 from newsontheblock.com

 In a landmark case that will undoubtedly be a gamechanger for the property management industry, the Upper Tribunal has decided that managing agents must consider the financial impact of major works on lessees and whether to phase works so they become more affordable. More

Upper Tribunal Decision

LVT Decision link


Capital Programme Update – Quarter 4

To find out when the next works are happening to your (ex-hfi – not partners) property – Please see the Capital Programme Update – Quarter 4 (which is on Pages 35 to 67 of the Consultative Panels Central Reports May 2012)

Download
Consultative Panel Reports – May 2012

Audit of Islington Council Accounts 2011-12

Inspection of Accounts
Audit Commission Act 1998, sections 15 – 16
The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011 Regulations 9, 10, 21 and 22
Each year the Council’s accounts are audited and any person interested has the opportunity to inspect and make copies of the accounts and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to them. (A charge may be made for excessive copies.)

The accounts for the year ending 31 March 2012 and documents will be available at the Council Offices, 7 Newington Barrow Way, London N7 7EP between 9.30am and 4.30pm on Mondays to Fridays from on Monday 25 June 2012 until on Friday 20 July 2012.

If you wish to inspect any documents please apply first to Mohammed Sajid, Chief Accountant, at the above address or call 0207 527 2574 or email Mohammed.Sajid@islington.gov.uk so that arrangements can be made.
From 10.00am on 25 July 2011 until the conclusion of the audit process, a local government elector for the area of the Council, or his/her representative,may:
– ask the auditor questions about the accounts. Please contact the District Auditor, Mr Philip Johnstone, at the Audit Commission, 1st Floor Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4HQ to make arrangements to ask any questions.

– object to the Council’s accounts asking that the auditor issue a report in the public interest (under section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998) and/or apply to the court for a declaration that an item in the accounts is contrary to law (under section 17 of the Audit Commission Act 1998). Written notice of a proposed objection and the grounds on which it is made must be sent to the auditor at the address given above and copied to me at the following address:
Finance Department,
Floor 2, Council Offices,
7 Newington Barrow Way,
London N7 7EP
Mike Curtis

Remember, it’s ‘how much’ was spent – not why. Also, bills paid, invoices, deeds and CONTRACTS can be requested for examination & copy. Good opportunity for anybody especially faced with major works bills to get hold of the relevant contract + bills and do some maths !
One could also ask the simple question, please provide all Bills paid and relevant invoices regarding property at ………… then one could compare with Annual Service Charges.

ILA AGM & Meeting Wed 13 June 2012

ILA

Islington Leaseholders Association

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

(meeting in public)

Wednesday 13th June 2012, 7pm

Main Council Chamber, Islington Town Hall,

Upper Street N1

Agenda

=======================================

1/

Introduction and Annual General Meeting 2011-2012:
7pm-7.30pm
a) Chairs Report

b) Treasurers Report 2011-2012

c) Resolution regarding Audit of Accounts

d) Election of Directors/co-opted directors

==========================================

2/

Chair opens monthly meeting 7.30pm

==========================================

3/
Guest speaker: Ms Patricia Napier (Barrister) who has been advising leaseholders and acting for them on a Pro Bono basis. 7.35pm-8pm
==========================================

4/

Questions and answers from leaseholders 8pm-8.30pm

=========================================

5/

Any other business 8.30pm-9pm
=========================================
NP:- Please let other leaseholders know about this meeting especially those who do not have email or tweet / RT this event.thank you.
=========================================

Hosting the meeting:- Dr B.S. Potter Chairman ILA

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Woman saves Islington taxpayers a fortune after spotting council window blunder

By JON DEAN Thursday, May 10, 2012
A woman was horrified when she found the council planned to charge her to replace the windows in her home – even though they were still covered under guarantee.

Vicki Leonard, 55, of Haslam Close, Islington, says the council had no idea about the warranty and was set to charge all the block’s residents for the work.

She called to protest, and says the council officer knew nothing about the 10-year-promise.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council retains guarantees for major works and we apologise that in this case there was an unacceptable delay in dealing with this request.” more

LVT refuse Islington council appeal against poor works and overcharging decision – Tremlett Grove vs LBI

The LVT recently confirmed that it considers Islington council Major Works charges were not reasonably incurred, and that one roof had been replaced & charged for without any clear evidence of inspection by the council, and that leaseholders were entitled to expect that blocks were inspected before substantial costs were incurred.

The LVT upheld it original decision of Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12

The leaseholders concerned saved 10’s of thousands of pounds off their bills.

The council may still appeal again, but the real questions are why is the council wasting taxpayers money in making appeals rather than investigating its contractor(s) and staff responsible for the issues pointed out by the LVT ? and Is the Council going to obtain a full refund for the overcharging from its contractors so all tenants affected can benefit from the LVT decision , or are LBI to pass the cost back onto tenants and leaseholders in increased service charges in future bills ?

You can read the refusal statement LVT Refusal statement 26 April 2012

The LVT upheld it original decision of  Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12 see below post LVT – Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12

Leaseholders get massive bill reduction at LVT for extremely poor major works, and massive overcharging.

One of the most important Leasehold Valuation Tribunal LVT decisions to date, from an Islington leaseholder’s perspective, was announced last week, (Merryweather court and Brennand court vs the mayor & burgess of Islington 29.3.12).

Please see the downloadable LVT decision pdf for details on the bill reductions, and to see how Islington leaseholders supported their claims before the LVT, plus the degree of detail they provide in evidence of shoddy workmanship, overcharging and gross mismanagement.   LVT – Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12

Examples of the council overcharging identified by the LVT include roof works charges of £208,661 which were reduced to  £50,000, i.e. £25,000 per block. and asbestos removal charges of £157,371 that the Tribunal reduced to reasonable expenditure of £15,737.

This is one example, where the Council has authorised expenditure without satisfying itself that the expenditure is really necessary, and it demonstrates what can be achieved when leaseholders have the courage to challenge the bills they are sent, and demand that council officers ,  councillors and their contractors  are made accountable for their actions.”

Since the ILA can only supply ‘useful information’ on our web site, and not “advice”, as always, we suggest that you should obtain ‘professional independent legal advice’ before considering issuing such a challenge.

The Islington Gazette  has reported that millions of pounds of public money could have been wasted.

The ILA has already lobbied Islington Council, and, both the leader of the council, and the chair of housing, in regard to applying the reductions obtained by Merryweather/Brennard Courts leaseholders to all leaseholders in the same contract, and insisted that the council also reclaim, on behalf of the public purse, all monies related to tenanted properties in the same contract.   LVT – Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12

 

Please feel free to pass on to other leaseholders you think may be interested

 

Late News:  The ILA  understand that LBI intends to appeal the decision.