Forum update: Local elections – any questions? Also, significant Improvement for Leaseholders threatened with Regeneration
In this update:
- Local elections – any questions for the Party Leaders?
- Significant improvement for leaseholders threatened with regeneration
- New guide: Service Charges: Tenants v. Leaseholders
- New Leaseholders’ Forum newsletter
- Camden Account: further testing (are you available 20th March?)
- Next meeting
Local Elections: Any questions for the Party Leaders?
With the local council elections fast approaching (22nd May) and all seats up for grabs, we thought we would ask: What leaseholder issues do you want to see your councillors tackle? Post your issues to our discussion board (or email them in to this address) by 16th March and we’ll see if we can get the party leaders to respond! n.b. If you can’t see how to post questions, log in (in the top right hand corner), then click the link again. [editor’s note: old Discussion Board posts were not migrated when we changed sites in 2015]
Please bear in mind that between 14th April and 22nd May, responses from Camden Council re. policy may become more limited than normal due to election “purdah” rules. For more details see this Wikipedia article.
Significant improvement for leaseholders threatened with regeneration
Over the last 12 months the Leaseholders’ Forum (and Shafeeq Siddiqui in particular) have been working extremely hard regarding certain regeneration issues. The Forum was concerned that leaseholders living in regeneration hot spots (such as Gospel Oak) would have their properties compulsory purchased to make way for new developments and not be able to stay in the area (unlike tenants who would be given new properties on a like-for-like basis). Leaseholders could have suffered from being on limited incomes (e.g. pensions), issues with mortgage affordability and property blight while the regeneration works are taking place.
Shafeeq has worked extremely hard in presenting this issue to Camden Council and exploring alternative options. Camden Council have now agreed to share the dividends of regeneration in a consistent way that will also be applied to future regeneration schemes. Options such as shared-equity will enable resident Leaseholders to move into the new builds if they so wish (without any rental charges to Camden for their share of ownership). Additionally, compensation for disruption and temporary accommodation during the works will now still be made available. The full policy is still being worked out but the initial details can be seen at http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/documents/g4646/Public%20reports%20pack%2026th-Feb-2014%2019.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10 (pages 385 to 495).
It is our second major win in recent months, following significant lobbying over heating system options during major works which led to a change in Camden Council’s position over this issue (individual boilers are now actively being costed and considered for all upgrade schemes, instead of communal boilers being the only option on the table).
New guide: Service Charges: Tenants v. Leaseholders
What is included in the service charge and how is the service charge calculated? These topics can be hugely complicated and there is a significant volume of law and tribunal hearings attributed to service charges. We hope to provide an insight into some of the logistics and concepts involved. To download our new guide please go to: https://www.leaseholdersforum.org.uk/guides/service-charges-tenants-v.-leaseholders/
New Leaseholders’ Forum newsletter
Our six-monthly newsletter will shortly be going out with Camden’s service charge estimates. To have a sneak preview please go to: https://www.leaseholdersforum.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/140301-newsletter.pdf
Camden Account: Further Testing
Camden Account is relatively new and allows leaseholders to view service charges (including information about charges for recent repairs and other supporting cost breakdowns).
Leaseholder Services’ have approached us and asked for volunteers to help with testing the next upgrade. The testing/feedback sessions will be held at the Town Hall Extension, Argyle Street, on Thursday, 20th March 2014 between 9am – 5pm (sessions are available in hourly timeslots with the last session starting at 4pm). For testing purposes, they would like volunteers that have both annual service charge and major works invoices on their accounts. There is no requirement for volunteers to be renting out their property. Volunteers will be given a £25 voucher for their time.
Sessions will be approximately 1 hour long and will involve sitting at a computer and following some simple instructions to access information on the online account test system. The monitoring and feedback will be used to identify and fix any issues that customers experience before the changes are introduced on the live system.
Please contact Cheree Collins directly by email email@example.com or on 020 7974 6825 if you wish to volunteer.
The next regular meeting will be at 6.45pm on Tuesday, 1st April at Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, Kings Cross, WC1H 9JE. The next open meeting and AGM will be on will be 17th June.
That’s it for now!
on behalf of Camden Leaseholders’ Forum
More information available at: https://www.leaseholdersforum.org.uk
If you know of anyone who would like to receive updates from Camden Leaseholders’ Forum please direct them to https://www.leaseholdersforum.org.uk/mailing-list where they can sign up.
The Leaseholders’ Forum is a volunteer group representing all the leaseholders in Camden Council properties and freeholders paying service charges to Camden Council. We scrutinise Camden Council proposals, examine working practices and lobby on behalf of leaseholders to Camden Council.