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
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Most social landlords that develop homes have always disapproved of the now outdated practice of failing to pay contractors and subcontractors in a timely manner.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)
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
The ILA are looking for photo evidence from Leaseholders of poor workmanship on their home from Islington Council and Partners workers and their contractors for possible publication on our website and social media.
Please email ILA links to your digital photos to this address with name of the contractor.
or send copies of physical photos to: PO BOX 66633, London N1 1AA
Note: Please don’t send more that your 5 best photos – but tell us if you have more, We can’t return copies of physical photos and paper photocopies may not be be good enough to publish
A report from the Smith Institute last week (quoted by Jules Birch in “Inside Housing”) concluded that over 60 per cent of new homes in central London are currently being bought by overseas investors and that a large proportion of them are being kept empty.
If there is extra overseas demand for limited supply that is already inadequate to meet domestic demand then that must be increasing (or propping up) prices and making the overall affordability situation worse. That has to be a cause of concern for the UK government, especially when overseas governments are taking action in their own markets. Full Story Here