ILA Meet Wed 13th April 2016

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting


 Wednesday 13th April 2016


Islington Town Hall


7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speakers: TBA


Twitter @ilaorguk

Face Book

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 leave amessage here.

 You can join the ILA, or renew your membership here

The Land Registry‏ Selloff petition

38 Degrees say The government’s plans to sell off the Land Registry – the profitable public service that records the sale of houses and land. 38 say its It’s a short sighted move to make money. So 38 Degrees member James, a legal services property expert, is campaigning to stop the sell-off.

You can sign the petition here

ILA Meet Wed 10th Feb 2016

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting


 Wednesday 10th February 2016


Islington Town Hall


7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speakers: TBA


Twitter @ilaorguk

Face Book

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 leave a message here.

 If you wish to join or renew your membership here

Charge to leaseholders has nothing to do with the cost of the service -Tribune letter 01.16

Charge to leaseholders has nothing to do with the cost of the service we get

8 January, 2016

• ISLINGTON Council residential leaseholders are generally unaware that their service charge has not been calculated or apportioned according to the terms of their leases.

Council leases state that the service charge shall be apportioned by area, but the council has never properly measured the area of all its flats, so instead it decided to use what it calls bedroom weighting.

The High Court has decided that bedroom weighting is wrong, and that area should be used. The council is now claiming this High Court decision does not apply in most cases. I disagree.

The reality is that the service charge is just a pre-decided figure that the council wishes to recover from leaseholders, and has nothing to do with what the service provided actually costs.

For more information

Islington leaseholders – Housing Scrutiny Committee Panel Meeting Mon 16th Nov 2015 – Including report from Islington Leaseholders Association recommendations for consideration.‏

Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA) has asked me to forward this information onto you all regarding the Housing Scrutiny Committee Panel Meeting which takes place this Monday 16th November  2015, at Islington Town Hall, in committee room 4, at 7pm.
Dr Potter would like as many as possible leaseholders to turn up at this meeting.
Please see below Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming Minutes and click on the attachment Report from Islington Leaseholders Association where you can viewILA’s Recommendations for consideration.
Kind Regards Dr B.S. Potter Chairman (ILA)

Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming

Recommendations for consideration 

·  Promotion and facilitation of Tenants & Residents Associations prior to consideration of works in order to facilitate and enhance subsequent involvement of ‘tenants’ in consultation.

·  The size of each project and therefore each contract should be smaller.

·  Cyclical maintenance to be undertaken block by block with the occasional aggregation of two or more blocks into single projects but never such as to risk infringing the EU procurement thresholds.1

·  Projects to be undertaken with the pre-project scoping consultation as now intended as universal practice well before and in addition to statutorily required ‘Section 20’ 


·  Irrespective of the size of contract a clause should be written to the effect that there is to be no sub-contractor without the prior approval of the Council’s contract. 


·  The practice of allowing contractors a specific clause prohibiting the photo-copying or otherwise making generally available of the Schedule of Rates to be terminated.

·  The Schedule of Rates used for major works projects and responsive repairs to be made available to the public on the internet in the interest of transparency and to pre-empt time absorbing enquiries.

·  Contracts to be JCT Contracts of the current edition and as appropriate for the size and nature of each project.2

·  Contracts once signed should be made available to the public on the internet.  Personal names and signatures should be redacted.

·  Frequent and adequate inspection and supervision of the works during construction, incorporating, where possible, involvement of ‘tenant inspectors’.

NB ‘Tenants’ includes both tenants with long leases and those with periodic tenancies.

Islington Leaseholders’ Association 

Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming 

1. Contention 

Leaseholders contend that the procurement process as currently operated by the London Borough of Islington works against the interests of Leaseholders and by implication against the interest of secure tenants and the electorate of Islington.

The choice of contractor is limited to those that are big enough to tender for the work through the EU procurement process.

The contractors who actually do the work on site are typically not the contractors that have been selected but their sub-contractors.

Once the work on site is embarked upon leaseholders are faced with what amounts to a campaign of attrition and exercise of forensics if they are to ascertain from their bills whether they have been charged correctly against the scale of charges that the contractors have agreed with the Borough and it may be that the degree of secrecy that is being applied by the contractors is being applied following prior collaboration between the contractors in what amounts to a cartel arrangement.

2. Evidence 

Attendees to the meeting on 2015 September 07 heard repeated the allegation that the JCT Contracts are “adversarial”. The allegation that the construction industry had become to adversarial has been made repeatedly since the early 1990s and the recommendations of the Latham3 and Egan4 Reports were directed at eliminating the adversarial aspects and the excessive amount of litigation being experienced by promoting ‘partnership’ as an alternative to contractual relationships.

However now that we have the benefit of hindsight we can see that the changes that have been wrought have not delivered us to the promised land. We may not have the litigation that we had previously but this is only because we do not have the benefit of robust contracts under which to seek redress and cannot contemplate the expense of needing to go through the performance of going out to tender again.

What we manifestly do experience is a lack of performance resulting in the need for works of reparation that the client has to pay for without recourse to the contractors who, for their part have been denied the incentive to produce quality work.

“It must never be forgotten that architects who cause their clients to suffer loss through ignorance in administering a contract may be liable for professional negligence.” Should the fashion for partnership provide a defence?

So are the JCT contracts essentially adversarial and were they to blame for the litigation that used to be experienced? 

It is the very essence of the JCT contracts that they were devised, and revised over the years, such that it could not be argued in the courts that their terms were unfair or prejudicial to any one of the various parties to any construction project.

To this end The Joint Contracts Tribunal, to give it the name from which ‘JCT’ emanates, following recommendations in the 1994 Latham Report, currently the operational structure comprises 7 members who approve and authorise publications. They were listed by the JCT in 2014 as the British Property Federation, the Contractors Legal Grp Limited, the Local Government Association, the National Specialist Contractors Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Scottish Building Contract

Islington Leaseholders’ Association 

Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming

Committee. In 1998 the JCT became a limited company. Thus all aspects of the construction industry have agreed the terms of the contracts and any contractor would have they work cut out if they were to attempt to argue that the contract is unfair.

We should ask whether the degree of litigation prevalent at the end of the last century had more to do with the economies that were being through reduction in the degree to which work was laboriously specified and inspected during construction.

EU Procurement:

In parallel with the move away from robust contracts we have, perhaps out of some misguided impression that an economy of scale will necessarily be beneficial, been uccoured into undertaking projects of work of such size that EU procurement rules require advertising work in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

However we see time and time again that whilst those that tender for the work are large companies those that actually do the work on site are comparatively small sub-contractors the choice of which is out of the clients direct control.

It seems that a sub-contractor can be considered large enough to do the work despite not being large enough to tackle the EU procurement process.

The net result is a lack of control for the client who can find themselves with work being carried out by sub-contractors that they would not have chosen to employ and subcontractors who are actually doing the work can not be guaranteed to be rewarded for their efforts by being considered again. Someone is paying the cost of expensive EU tendering for all the projects that the contractors do not win and someone is paying for the administrative cost inherent in the multi-layered nature of the contractor and this can only be the client.

Further as to the sizes of the contract, it should be noted that aggregating works into larger contracts can in some circumstances be readily demonstrated to have been detrimental to the treatment of the buildings. This was the case with the Merryweather Court and Brennand Court, Tremlett Grove contract that was subsequently the subject of a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. It was upheld that all the roofs were treated the same despite the fact that they had not all been inspected and that some having been protected with insulation and concrete slabs had almost certainly not required replacement.


We are given to understand that the London Borough of Islington has received legal advice to the effect that it does not have to release information on the costing of housing projects.  The exact nature of that advice is not known. It is not know what question was asked nor do we know what answer was given.

Was the loaded question asked as to whether it would prove in time that the Borough had to release the information and was the answer given that leaseholders would be unlikely to win a case against the Borough or was some other question asked?

It is recommended that no further contracts be entered into with the clause prohibiting disclosure of the full schedule of rates. It is to be anticipated that the council will be told that the inclusion of such a clause is standard practice. For this reason the Council may have to work with other councils to counter a practice for which there can be no justification once contracts have been signed. What do we call contractors who are conspiring together and how could this fit with the concept of free competition?

Islington Leaseholders’ Association 


EC Procurement Thresholds

The Joint Contracts Tribunal 

3 Latham Report (1994 July):

4 Egan Report (1998)

“Latham’s report: Did it change us?” By Joey Gardiner, Building Product Search (2014 June 27th)

Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (1996 Chapter 53):

Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009: 


Inspection of Islington Council Accounts 

 Inspection of Accounts 

Adverts are out this week from 22 June 2015 to 17 July 2015 but feel free to send in requests from now so we can start please see below.

Audit of Accounts 31st March 2014 to 1st April 2015

  • 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. In line with the above Acts and Regulations any person interested has the right to:

  • Inspect the accounts and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to them and make copies of the above (a charge may be made for copies).

The accounts for the year ending 31 March 2015 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 22nd June to 17th July 2015.

If you wish to inspect any particular documents please apply first to the Corporate Accountancy Tram at the above address, call 0207 527 2725 or email  so that arrangements can be made. Please note: you may need to visit other offices you may need to visit other offices to view some documents. From 10.00am on Monday 20th July 2015 until Wednesday 30th September 2015, until the end of the audit process, a local government elector for the area of the council, or his/her representative.


ILA_Gazette28.11.13 -£3,500 mislaid_lr


Partners – Refurbishment and Improvement Works

For anyone wanting some info on Partners Refurbishment and Improvement Works programme, you can view and download them from here





Service charge limit for leaseholders of social landlords

New mandatory and discretionary reduction of service charges directions for social landlords came into force on 12 August 2014.

Heres a link to Leases’ article on the recent cap

Here are links to the mandatory and discretionary regs

Solicitor’s frank comments on many social landlords contractor payments

Social landlords don’t know whether contractors are requesting payment for the right amounts, warns Theresa Mohammed in Inside Housing

Put bad practice behind you   

Most social landlords that develop homes have always disapproved of the now outdated practice of failing to pay contractors and subcontractors in a timely manner. They have taken a keen interest in the mechanics of the payment provisions under recent legislation.
Among our clients, we have seen social landlords bending over backwards to engage with contractors’ claims and cost overruns, even when this results in busting the budget for a project.
But this has to some extent gone too far and encouraged contractors to fall back on the old-fashioned claims culture of inflated and unsubstantiated claims for payment, which are difficult to assess with any accuracy. Contractors typically send these payment applications in the form of long spreadsheets of figures, relating to subcontractors. Some social landlords have been paying without checking for mistakes or asking for justification for the amounts requested.
Social landlords increasingly tell us about duplicated invoicing, spurious variations where a contractor claims that the scope of work has changed, the withholding of invoices for long periods of time, failure to follow any of the agreed payment processes, and contractors introducing payment terms or rates that were not agreed.
Lack of management
One of the main reasons for these problems is a distinct lack of senior management in repairs and maintenance contracting, which means costs are incurred and then crudely attributed to various categories of cost, such as preliminaries or planned works, which may or may not be legitimate.

(Theresa Mohammed is a contentious construction senior associate at Trowers & Hamlins)

Artcicle from Inside Housing   27 August 2014


Leaseholder & Freeholder Open Day – Wed 15th October 2014

Come along to the leaseholder open day, and say hello to various ILA directors who will be there.

You can also  talk to Council, Mears, Partners, BreyerGroup about:

Your annual or major works service charges

Future works to your block or estate

Subletting or selling your property

Meet: LEASE – the independent leasehold advice service

Zurich Municipal – building insurance provider

St Mungo’s Broadway – for money and benefit advice

Credit Union – community savings and loans

Building Control – advice on building regulations

Find out more about:

Islington Residential, our property management service for leaseholders who sublet their property

How to have your say

Assisted switching service – assistance with changing energy supplier



Islington Assembly Halls

Upper street

N1 2UD


Complaints Process Information

Please read this and see if it affects you.



If the answer is yes, please attend the next ILA meeting (on Wednesday in Townhall at 7pm) and ask questions relating to this process of our guest:

The “Adjudicator” of the “Housing Ombudsmen Service”

Dr. B.S. Potter ( Chairman ILA)