Pity that Islington’s Councillors aren’t as concerned about their leaseholders

Please read this letter…

Basically, in a very few words, it outlines many of the problems, and aspirations, associated with being a council leaseholder in the borough of Camden.

In my opinion its content could/should be common to all council leaseholders, regardless of which borough they live in since it forcefully stresses the plight of a deliberately ignored proportion of the electorate…until, of course, the council present us with their grossly inflated charges for substandard work…

I just wish I had written it…

Dr Potter

Chairman: – Islington Leaseholders Association (ILA)



Report of the Camden Leaseholder Recharges Scrutiny Panel

Cllr Meric Apak (Chair) writes:

I cannot help but speculate whether, before my time as a Councillor, my predecessors have been in this same position, aspiring to resolve leasehold related issues in council housing.

My personal aim through this scrutiny process has been to shine a torch on our failings as shown by the evidence we have collected, learn from this, and make recommendations to unravel this complex tangled mess which we seem to have allowed to fester.

Alas, for too long now we seem to have turned a blind eye to a culture which treats our leaseholders as second class residents – at least that’s the impression I get from my postbag. We need to accept that leasehold tenure in council housing is here to stay and that our leaseholders make a positive contribution to Camden.

Leaseholders are neither an irritating adjunct to council housing nor an ATM machine, and we need to differentiate the ordinary vast majority, from the minority who used the Right-to-Buy scheme for property speculation purposes.

We need to tap into Leaseholders’ knowledge and expertise to help Camden drive costs down, particularly in supervision and management. Services need, particularly in today’s straightened times, to provide value for money and to be comparable with those procured elsewhere in the marketplace, whilst complying with health and safety requirements. Not driving costs down can only result in unjustified charges to leaseholders which will not be recovered, which in turn can only be met by the Housing Revenue Account – thus pushing rents higher. So when we say leaseholders are “subsidised by tenants”, are we not highlighting our own failure?

We need to come up with ingenious methods to successfully engage with and meaningfully involve leaseholders (together with tenants) during the consultation process and convince them from the outset that this process will deliver a high quality service and value for money.

For this to work, there needs to be ‘buy-in’ from leaseholders that the survey and estimated cost of works to be done is worth the paper it’s written on. We then need to execute the agreed work, on time and to the agreed budget. This is obviously a simplification of what is needed – perhaps even a fanciful aspiration some might say.

Our success will be measured by how much culture change we can bring about throughout the officer ranks of the Council. We have a real opportunity to expand the ‘Right First Time’ philosophy, and to instill ‘buy-in’ for this concept right from the very junior member of staff to the most senior manager, and through to external providers and partners involved in delivering services to our leaseholders and tenants.

I would like to extend my thanks to the panel members for assisting me in this process. I would also like to say a special thanks to our Assistant Director Stuart Dilley, who agrees that there does need to be a culture change within the Council. Special thanks also to our committee clerk Vinothan Sangarapillai who has been instrumental in capturing the evidence through his diligent note taking.

But most of all, I am truly grateful to the many leaseholders for the large number of case studies that they have submitted to the Panel and took the time to describe the many harrowing experiences they have endured under the unsatisfactory historic arrangements – thank you.

Meric Apak


Context   http://wp.me/PY9zq-Ly

Housing cash raided as we struggle to get basic repairs done

Islington Tribune Leaseholder’s Letters.  

Housing cash raided as we struggle to get basic repairs done

Published:15 July, 2016

• IF you are an ordinary, working-class council tenant who ever thought Islington’s Labour council was on your side, think again.

Our rents and service charges are supposed to be ringfenced for managing, maintaining and repairing our homes. They are paid into the council’s housing revenue account (HRA), as distinct from the general fund, which all households pay into (including council tenants) through council tax.

The council, though, has just been exposed (in Inside Housing magazine) for using a loophole to raid the HRA to pay for “democratic and corporate core services”.  

While other councils have likewise been caught out, Islington has taken much more from the HRA than others. In 2014-15, 44 per cent of the cost of its “democratic and corporate core services” was taken from its HRA, while the London average (still inexcusable) was 6.9 per cent.  

This has been going on for years, with the percentage hiked up six per cent from 2011-12 to 2014-15.  Presumably, at the very least, the outgoing Islington housing lead member, now Deputy London Mayor, James Murray would have to have been aware that our rents are being used to subsidise other households, including some of the country’s wealthiest middle class. 

All tenants’ and residents’ associations should demand that the HRA raids stop and that any money taken for “democratic and core services” be paid back, especially as many of us struggle to get basic repairs done on our estates and are told that the budgets which council TRAs might bid for (for estate improvements) could be cut.  

Finsbury estate, EC1

Land Registry Sell Off‏ – Petition

Fellow Leaseholders,

The government wants to privatise the Land Registry – a huge public database that records the sale of all houses and land in England and Wales. If private corporations get their hands on the Land Registry, they’ll have just one thing on their minds – profits.

A privatised Land Registry would mean a hike in prices for all of us, or a fall in standards because of cost-cutting measures. And experts have said the privatisation could cause corruption and abuse in the land and property market.

The government is hoping they can go full steam ahead on their plans – but if we can show overwhelming public opposition, they could take privatisation off the table entirely. Can you add your voice and stand up for the Land Registry, a profitable and transparent public service?

Just click this link to sign the petition now:


Regards Dr B.S Potter Chairman (ILA)

ILA meet Wed 11th May 2016

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting


 Wednesday 11th May 2016


Islington Town Hall


7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speakers: TBA

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 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

EU vote – Original In/Out promotional material

Here are some of the original In/Out EU vote promotional materials, from Dr Potter of the ILA, to help inform Leaseholders regarding the history of the process that we are about to vote on.

Gov say to vote yes  Vote Yes  Vote No


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  http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/home/blogs/put-bad-practice-behind-you/7005264.article


“WESTLAW” free of charge in all of Islington’s Libraries.

Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA) has asked me to forward this onto you all.
I have just discovered that you can access “WESTLAW” free of charge in all of Islington’s Libraries.If you need to research any form of law documentation…all that you need is a library card…!!!

Dr B.S. Potter Chairman (ILA)


ILA meet Wed 10.09.14

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting


Wednesday 10th September 2014


Islington Town Hall


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 intohttp://www.ila.org.uk/faqs/contact-form.


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


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


[1] Dr Brian Potter has asked me to forward this article onto you all in last weeks Islington Gazette – Thurs 28th Aug 20104 – £10 million raised in three months by selling off Council housing


ILA AGM & meet – Wed 11th June 2014

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting
Annual General Meeting


Wednesday 11th June 2014


Islington Town Hall


7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speakers: Mrs Patricia Napier

Website www.ila.org.uk
Twitter: @ilaorguk
Face Book www.facebook.com/IslingtonLeaseholdersAssociation

Please tell /retweet/re-mail/ like / anyone who might be interested about this meeting