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Most social landlords that develop homes have always disapproved of the now outdated practice of failing to pay contractors and subcontractors in a timely manner.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)
If you’ve got a repair issue with your Partners managed property you can go and see them in person.
Here is a programme of dates for Partners repairs drop-in sessions.
They are running monthly, alternating at the office and just before the forum.
Thursday 17th July (5.30-6.30pm) – Islington Town Hall
Wednesday 20th August (2-4pm) – Colebrooke Place
Thursday 18th September (5.30-6.30pm) – Islington Town Hall
Wednesday 22nd October (2-4pm) – Colebrooke Place
Thursday 19th November (5.30-6.30pm) – Islington Town Hall
Wednesday 17th December (2-4pm) – Colebrooke Place.
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
When Leader of the Council Richard Watts came to the Islington Leaseholders’ Association meeting at the Town Hall on February 12th, 2014, he spoke of the need for an entirely new council/leaseholder relationship, based on working together.With this in mind, your thoughts and input would be appreciated.
Leaseholder poll Please tick 3 boxes then press vote button below
If you think the council should be doing something more important for leaseholders than the suggestions above, tell us publicly on comment form below, or privately via the contact form and we may ask the council about it and/or add it to this poll, or flag it for future discussion.
Please Share Poll /Email On / RT / Like / Tell someone else.
Islington Tribune Letters: by Meg Howarth – Published: 8 November, 2013
• POOR maintenance of Islington’s housing stock isn’t, alas, uncommon or confined to the borough’s estates(Homes repair complaints ‘rising’, November 1).
A group of volunteer housing campaigners carrying out spot checks on randomly selected street properties has exposed some appalling conditions.
Their findings can be seen in a series of photographs at www.islingtonpfi.org.
Leaseholders might find the Council’s own statement of its promises to leaseholders useful when in negotiation over service charges or major works !!!
‘£30k maintenance charge drained my life savings’ says 88-year-old leaseholder
Published: 13 September, 2013 by PETER GRUNER and SERINA SANDHU from Islington Tribune
HOUSING activists are launching a campaign to force Islington Council to pay back most of the £30,000 in maintenance fees which drained the life savings of an 88-year-old leaseholder.
They will claim that widowed pensioner Joan Leonard was not properly consulted some eight years ago, nor did she give her approval of work done on the tower block Emberton Court, on the Brunswick estate, Clerkenwell.
The move follows plans for more work on the estate for which Mrs Leonard will be asked to contribute another £8,000.
Retired tailor Mrs Leonard, who has lived on the fifth floor of the estate for more than 60 years, said: “I paid the money for four new windows and two doors. They also replaced a perfectly good boiler.
“But I got a shock when I got the bill. Now they want more money for things like CCTV and repairs. Well, I don’t have it.”
Two of the borough’s most formidable campaigners, Dr Brian Potter, chairman of Islington Leaseholders Association, and student barrister Patricia Napier will take on the case.
The work on the estate was carried out by the now-defunct housing management organisation Homes for Islington in 2008-09.
Dr Potter said: “This is a woman who was forced to spend her entire life-savings on work which probably wasn’t needed. She came to us because she’s being asked to spend more money.”
He added: “We hope of course that rather than a long, protracted tribunal or court case the council will agree to a refund.”
Ms Napier said: “£30,000 is a huge amount of money. I hope to get a great proportion of it back. Mrs Leonard is obviously not a wealthy woman and it appears she was not aware of her rights at the time the work was done.
“The council will have to prove that the work was necessary.”
Councillor James Murray, executive member for housing, said that if any leaseholders have difficulty making the payment a member of the housing team can help them by discussing options.
7pm – 9pm
Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman ILA
Guest Speaker: To be advised
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If you wish to join or renew your membership please contact our website www.ila.org.uk where you can obtain the appropriate membership forms.