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Councillors Financial Housing ILA Islington LBI Leaseholders Major Works Repairs Service Charges

Council asked why are Leaseholders getting huge £72K Bills?

ILA’s Dr Potter asking Islington Council staff Ian Swift and Councillor Una OHalloran at last nights February ILA meeting on 14.02.24 why individual Leaseholders are getting huge bills for £46K and £72K.

Islington Council staff Ian Swift and Councillor Una OHalloran and ILAs Dr Potter at ILA meeting 14.02.24. IMG_5945

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Councillors Cyclical Works Financial Government Housing ILA Islington LBI Leaseholders Repairs

Questions For Islington Council Causing Distress To Residents

Dr Brian Potter, sent the Letter of October 23 from MP Michael Gove to Victoria Lawson, CEO Islington Council to the tribune this week obo the ILA.

The Tribune published it in this weeks edition…

The letter discusses the Housing Ombudsman’s Special Report condemning Islington Councils  “severe maladministration rate [which] is four times the national average”.

Gove goes on  “This is unacceptable. The report identifies unreasonable delays, poor record keeping and communication with your residents, and a failure to follow your own policies and procedures. You failed to identify underlying issues – instead, you took a superficial look at problems such as damp and mould. It is not surprising that, as a result, many of your residents have suffered prolonged periods of distress”

Since it was dated Oct 23., Dr Potter suggests the Questions we should ask are…
Why did we not know about it until this week…?
and what has/will the council do about it now that it is in the public domain…?

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Councillors Cyclical Works Financial Housing ILA LBI Leaseholders Repairs Service Charges

ILA in Gazette 08.02.24

This weeks letter in the Gazette…

Judging from what I have read in the press of late, plus the horror stories which I hear at the monthly meetings of the Islington Leaseholders Association, (in Islington Town Hall), leaseholders are being unmercifully targeted financially by the council and their contractors.

Whilst the Cyclic/Major works costing are of primary interest to leaseholders, of secondary concern is the actual “Quality” of the work observed. Unfortunately this aspect of leasehold complaints is probably, due for the main part to the overall neglect of adequate inspection by the councils own building control department.

On behalf of the ILA I have frequently asked the upper echelon of the council how many surveyors do the council directly employ in order to provide a sufficient degree of control over their contractors, and even more important, SUB CONTRACTORS on council estates…their answer has always been 70…!!!

My secondary question has always been, how many are RICS members, the answer is invariably, none, except on one occasion when they corrected themselves and stated, one..me, but I do need to pay my fees, straight way…

A further question as to why were they not RICS, elicited the reply, “cost of membership”.

So, Just who will inspect the INSPECTORS. In the main, the problems associated with massive bills, enforced on both leaseholder, as well as TENANTS, who pay for the councils disgraceful lack of control by way of ever increasing rents, sits firmly on the council shoulders as result of their inability to control the contracts they issue on our behalf…

Any way you look at it…since the council use our money to pay the contractor directly, surely they must be considered to be simply a managing agent…and as such responsible to the Residents of this borough…Corporate responsibility…???

Dr Potter

Chairman ILA  

read more in Gazzette

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Councillors Financial Government ILA Islington LBI Leaseholders Leases

Millions could be raised in Islington leasehold sale

With the Leasehold reform bill on its way, its maybe time for Islington council to consider options like this.

Originally written by Jon Dean Thursday, November 1, 2012.

More than £20million could be raised for new homes if Islington Council becomes the first to adopt a pioneering scheme suggested by homeowners.

The plan, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, would see the town hall offer leaseholders a one-off chance to extend their leases by 99 years at a knock-down price.
With around 11,000 people owning former council properties, the initiative could raise in the region of £22million if the price was set at £2,000 as suggested.
The idea is the brainchild of Brian Potter, chairman of the Islington Leaseholders Association (ILA), who contacted Cllr Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, to put forward the proposal.
He said: “The beauty of this idea is that homeowners get security for two generations and can leave their home to their children, while Islington Council get some much needed funds.
“I think they will go for it – I mean, they will definitely want the cash. Other councils are raising money by selling off properties…they’re selling the family silver. 
“This way Islington get to keep the silver and make bundles of money by essentially selling cans of air.”
When people buy a former council home, they usually buy a lease for the property for a fixed period, normally 125 years, while the town hall retains the freehold. 
When the lease gets down to around 80 years, it can be hard to sell or mortgage the property and extending the lease can be a costly, complicated process. 
The cost of extending a lease on home worth £200,000 starts at around £7,500.
Under the proposed scheme the price of extending would be between £1,000 and £3,000 depending on the value of the property.
The council confirmed it was looking into the idea.
Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said: “We are keen to look at new ideas like this, particularly at a time when we continue to face huge cuts to our funding by central government.

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Councillors Cyclical Works Financial Housing ILA Information Islington LBI Leaseholders Major Works PFI Repairs Service Charges

£9million of taxpayers’ money went to ‘offshore tax haven’ through Islington Council’s out-sourced housing deals

From PFI article in ISLINGTON GAZETTE this week

Between 2012 and 2018, JLIF which invested in 65 PFI and Public Private Partnership schemes around the world, had pre-tax profits of £526.1m but paid only paid £2.1m (or 0.4pc) in UK tax. Academic and housing campaigner Stuart Hodkinson, whose 2019 work Safe As Houses scrutinies the “corporate greed” of PFI schemes, estimates the total contract value of PFI 1 is £357m, while PFI 2 is said to be worth £421.3m.

Dr Brian Potter, chair of Islington Leaseholders Association, led a campaign to stop the PFI deals in the early 2000s. He argues offshore or tax haven registered companies profiting from PFI deals, while not illegal, is “unethical” and “insidious”. He said: “This is one of the major problems with selling off contacts. Once you have sold the contract you have no control, so there is no quality control – nobody accepts responsibility for anything wrong with the original contract. You’re just left with a money spinning machine just eating money over the years. It was the worst council financing decision.”

Read the full story here

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Councillors Financial ILA Information Islington Leaseholders Meetings PFI Website

Annual Leaseholders Fair – Wednesday 14.10.19

Annual Leaseholders Fair 
Will take place on
Monday 14 October 2019
3pm – 7.30pm,
At the 
Williamson Street Community Centre
76 Parkhurt Road, London N7 0SZ

Islington Leaseholders Association will be attending

Please come and meet Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA) and ILA Directors. 

__________________________________________________


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Councillors Financial Housing Information Leaseholders Major Works Repairs Website

London Mayor betrays 34 estates over housing ballots

Mayor quietly signs off funding for 34 estates, dodging new ballot rules

At Mayor’s Question Time this week, the Mayor gave me a firm promise not to sign off any new funding for estate demolition while his new policy to require a ballot of residents was out for consultation. But he was concealing the fact he has recently rushed through funding for dozens of controversial schemes, allowing councils and housing associations to dodge his new policy.

The new policy to require ballots was announced on 2 February, with a consultation on the details (such as the size of schemes, who can vote, whether independent organisations should carry them out etc) open until 3 April.

I asked him at MQT this week not to sign off any schemes meanwhile, and he was clear he would not do this, saying: “I will be signing no new funding contracts until the consultation has ended and we’ve published the final guide.”

This seemed quite good. Along with campaigners from many estates across London, and with the support of the Assembly, I’ve been working to change the Mayor’s policy on giving residents a say since his truly appalling draft ‘Good Practice Guide’ to estate regeneration was published in December 2016. A consultation on that draft closed nearly a year ago in March 2017, and the results were that 95 per cent of responders asked for ballots for residents facing demolition.

However,

I have now found out that, all this time, the Mayor has been quietly signing off funding for some of the most controversial estate schemes in London….despite promising in his manifesto to “require that estate regeneration only takes place where there is resident support, based on full and transparent consultation.”

By Sian Berry

Read More

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Councillors Housing Information Islington LBI Website

Site Allocations Direction of Travel Consultation (Homes, Work & other spaces) – Have Your Say

Islington council is consulting on the Site Allocations Direction of Travel Document and is seeking feedback until 26 March 2018.

The Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) is a key document within Islington’s Local Plan. Site allocations provide site specific policy for key sites to help secure specific land uses, meet identified development needs and ensure the infrastructure required to support growth is in place. The DPD is used alongside relevant planning policies to guide decision-making on planning applications relating to allocated sites.

Over 150 sites have been identified, which could accommodate new housing, workspaces, shops, open spaces, or leisure and community facilities. The council is inviting feedback on the proposed site allocations. Any comments received during the consultation period will be used to inform the drafting of the final version of the document.

You can view the Site Allocations Direction of Travel document via the link: www.islington.gov.uk/consultations.

Hard copies of the draft document are available to view at all Islington libraries.

Have your say

You can make comments on the draft document:

·         by email to planningpolicy@islington.gov.uk

·         in writing to Planning Policy Team, Freepost RTXU-ETKU-KECB, Planning Policy, Islington Council, Town Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD.

Please send your comments by midnight on Monday 26 March 2018.

Yours Sincerely
Planning Policy Team

London Borough of Islington

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Councillors Housing ILA Information Leaseholders Website

Haringey Social Cleansing reported by Private Eye

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Councillors Financial ILA Information Islington Leaseholders Meetings PFI Website

Annual Leaseholders Fair – Wednesday 11.10.17

Annual Leaseholders Fair 

Will take place on Wednesday 11 October 2017

3pm – 7.30pm,

At the Resource for London,

356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA.

Islington Leaseholders Association will be attending

Please come and meet Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA) and ILA Directors. 

__________________________________________________

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Councillors Cyclical Works Financial Housing ILA Islington LBI Leaseholders Major Works Partners PFI Repairs Service Charges

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

 

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