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Councillors Financial Housing ILA Information Islington Islington Council LBI Leaseholders Leases Major Works Service Charges

Massive Rent Increases

Islington Councils latest budget, as usual, is all “Doom and Glum” and continually pointed at the great hole in the  borough’s finances. 

Nevertheless, since the councils main funding stream is basically through council rents and Maintenance bills, their obvious solution is to raise the average Council rents by a whopping great £9.71p per week. This is in order to replenish the Housing Revenue account, and facilitate further mis-running of the borough. 

However, strange though it may seem, whilst the borough is financially struggling to survive, the Council have also re-purchased 389 ex Council flats. It’s not to move islington tenants out of temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfast, which costs the borough a fortune, but to be used as further…short term accommodation..!

Question, if this borough is having financial problems : – Just how/and from where, did they acquire the money to finance such a massive purchase?

Using a broad brush approach, approximately 389 flats at an average cost of £400.000 each? (and we all know, that in this borough you can’t buy a shoe box for that, much less 2, 3, and 4 bedroom flats) comes to approximately £155.6 million pounds!

Question, If the purchase of these flats involved a grant…how much was it in total?… if a loan, just how much undisclosed debt are we now jointly carrying?…and what % interest are we going to be paying?, to whom, and for how many years to come?. Which of course will be solved, once again, by simply, raising the RENTS and MAINTENANCE bills …Again and Again…

It “Beggars Believe” what both Tenants and Leaseholders of this borough are forking out in order to cover financial mismanagement…

Hopefully, the usual “Smoke and Mirrors” won’t be enough this time around.!!!

Dr Potter

Chairman ILA www.ila.org.uk

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

Follow the money!

A simplistic explanation of why we pay so much…!!!

Why are council Rents and Maintenance bills, so inexplicably high? …simple,  …Just follow the money!

The council state that their main funding stream is basically via council rents, and maintenance billing. This is paid into the Housing Revenue Account by tenants, leaseholders, and 4000 absentee landlords…So…

1/ Islington Council issue contracts to maintain the borough’s estates.

2/ The Contractor scopes out the work, price the job, and bill’s the Council for work completed.

3/ The Council (using 33% of the housing Revenue account) pays the tenants contribution. It apportions the remainder between their leaseholders and absentee landlords.

4/ The absentee landlords then recover their cash by raising their rentals.

Who gets this public money?

1/ Builders get paid directly by the council, come what may.

2/ The council simply raise the tenants rents, and present Home owners with a massive bill.

3/ Landlords increase their rental charges to cover their liabilities.

Where does the money wind up!

1/ Contractors reinvest their massive profits in new projects.

2/ Builders simply “rack it in” by piecemeal subbing-out of the fractionated contracts.

3/ Council reduces its gross over spending to appear efficient.

4/ Landlords pay off their Mortgages.

5/ Private tenants reduce their renting costs by flat sharing.

6/ Mortgage lenders always win in the long run, since their investment is inevitably founded in “Bricks and Mortar”. 

All financed from the constant uncontrolled wastage of public money.!

Solution

1/ Council reduces contract sizes

2/ Council stops issuing astronomical bills to pay contracts

3/ Council controls Building and Maintenance costs by bringing building projects “Back in House”…

4/ Council demands total accountability

5/ Council demands value for money

6/ Council accepts “Individual Corporate Responsibility”, as the norm. 

Which is no more than what they’re already being handsomely paid for doing…!!!

Dr Potter…

Chairman ILA… (www.ila.org.uk

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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 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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Cyclical Works Financial Housing ILA Information Islington LBI Leaseholders Listed Buildings Major Works Meetings Partners PFI Repairs Service Charges

Housing Scrutiny – Information on Partners Resident Scrutiny Arrangements Meeting Tuesday 6th February 2018.

Housing Scrutiny-Information on Partners Resident Scrutiny Arrangements Meeting Tuesday 6th February 2018.

In advance of next week’s Housing Scrutiny meeting which will be considering the performance of Partners, please find attached a note submitted by a Partners tenant on the organisation’s resident scrutiny arrangements. This may inform discussions at the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 6th February, 2018, at 7.30pm in Committee Room 4. The pre-meeting will be held from 7-pm in Committee Room 3, at Islington Town Hall.

Please click on this link –PartnersResidentScrutinyNote2018.pdf

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Financial Housing ILA Information Islington LBI Leaseholders Partners PFI Repairs Service Charges

Inquiry into Local Authority Governance Scrutiny etc

Dear Islington Leaseholders,
Overview and scrutiny in local government inquiry

Dr Potter has asked me to forward this onto you all and has kindly suggested that everybody should reply to this by sending in a written submission….. A.S.A.P…. Deadline = Friday, 10 March 2017

Please click on the link below in BLUE to submit your written submissions.

Dr B.S. Potter Chairman (ILA)

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/communities-and-local-government-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/inquiry6/

MPs launch inquiry into overview and scrutiny in local government

Tuesday, 24 January 2017 14:58

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has launched a “long-overdue” inquiry into overview and scrutiny in local government.

The committee said it would “consider whether overview and scrutiny arrangements in England are working effectively and whether local communities are able to contribute to and monitor the work of their councils”.

Written evidence is invited on:

Whether scrutiny committees in local authorities in England are effective in holding decision-makers to account

The extent to which scrutiny committees operate with political impartiality and independence from executives

Whether scrutiny officers are independent of and separate from those being scrutinised

How chairs and members are selected

Whether powers to summon witnesses are adequate

The potential for local authority scrutiny to act as a voice for local service users

How topics for scrutiny are selected

The support given to the scrutiny function by political leaders and senior officers, including the resources allocated (for example whether there is a designated officer team)

What use is made of specialist external advisers

The effectiveness and importance of local authority scrutiny of external organisations

The role of scrutiny in devolution deals and the scrutiny models used in combined authorities

Examples where scrutiny has worked well and not so well

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 10 March 2017.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the committee, said: “This inquiry is long overdue. Local authority executives have more powers than ever before but there has not been any review about how effectively the current overview and scrutiny arrangements are working since they were introduced in 2000.

“Local authorities have a considerable degree of discretion when it comes to overview and scrutiny. We will examine these arrangements and consider what changes may be needed to ensure decision-makers in councils and local services are better held to account.”

Overview and scrutiny arrangements were introduced by the Local Government Act in 2000 as a counterweight to increasing decision-making powers of Leaders and Cabinets or directly elected mayors.

The committee said that shortcomings had been exposed, however, following a number of high profile cases, including child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, poor care and high mortality rates at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and governance failings in Tower Hamlets.

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Housing ILA Information Islington LBI Leaseholders Meetings Partners PFI Repairs Service Charges Website

ILA meet Wed 08.02.17

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 8th February 2017

In

Islington Town Hall

At

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 into https://www.ila.org.uk/faqs/contact-form.

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