Reposted from Islington Tribune
LETTERS: Crowdfunding bid to challenge hidden housing repair costs
Published: 27 November, 2015
• IT’S great to see the Tribune has started to report on Islington’s housing problems once again.
What was not reported in this article was that during the scrutiny committee meeting I asked Partners representatives how many surveyors it employed to service the properties it manages on behalf of the council; its answer was approximately 12. Since Islington Council employs another 60 surveyors to service the rest of its housing stock the total number of surveyors paid for by residents is more than 70, and according to the council, the majority of its surveyors are not even Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors qualified.
Since leaseholders’ bills for cyclic work show that all contracts are inclusive of 11 per cent for “professional fees” to the council, surely we are entitled to expect that the council employs only fullyRICS-qualified staff?
If the council is using potentially unqualified staff (not chartered surveyors) to assess the condition of our homes, how do we know that the costs and quality of the work, for which we are grossly overcharged, actually represents true “value for money”?
The answer is simple. We need to be able to freely inspect the schedule of rates appertaining to the contracts which have been agreed between the council and its contractors. Since we pay the bill we should be able to see just what the council signs us up to.
Curiously, the council not only refuses to allow us to view this document, but has recently attended a court hearing in order to make certain it can reserve the right to restrict legislative compliance to a degree which suits its purpose – basically, to stop residents seeing the cost of their repairs.
In order to challenge this position those concerned need to be able to pursue their case without fear of financial pressures.
Therefore, we are currently examining the possibility of following a course of crowdfunding to finance a challenge. If you are prepared to assist financially please email us on Islington.Leaseholders@hotmail.co.uk.
Remember, if the council does not have to show how your money is spent, it’s you who will have to pay the hidden costs.
DR BS POTTER
Chairman, Islington Leaseholders Association