Leaseholder FAQs, Parking, WeAreCamden revamp (and more!)

It’s been a few months since the last update so we now have a broad selection of articles which will hopefully be of interest to all…

Leaseholders FAQs
Estate Parking
WeAreCamden Website Revamp
Heating Meters
Improvements
Service Charges
Cabinet Member for Housing Julian Fulbrook
Spring Newsletter
Next Meeting Date

Leaseholders’ FAQs
Camden Council have recently published a fairly useful set of Rights and Responsibilities. Amongst other things it lists what sorts of repairs are the leaseholders’ responsibility and what type of repairs are the Council’s. Other leasehold-related FAQs can be found here.

Estate Parking
Camden Council have recently tried to limit residents to two parking permits per property, for estates with dedicated parking, regardless of the number of people living within the property or the needs of those residents. We are currently vigorously opposing how this has been implemented – if you are affected please let us know.

WeAreCamden Website Revamp
WeAreCamden (including our website) is currently getting an overhaul. If you have any suggestions over new content or changes we can include in the Leaseholders section now is the time to get in touch.

Heating Meters
Forthcoming works: New legislation implementing an EU Directive means that Camden Council must record heating usage at block level (rather than just estate level) and also investigate the viability of installing individual heating meters in properties that currently don’t have them. Inevitably the cost of installation will be passed on to leaseholders as appropriate, but on the (small) upside of this will mean that bills will be more accurate. Camden Council are now assessing their housing stock to see which properties will be affected.

Improvements
A recent ruling by the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), the new name and format for what was the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) has clarified that landlords are responsible for repairs, but improvements that exceed the cost of necessary repairs, need to take into account the interests of the leaseholders (e.g. whether they could afford them) and give greater weight to the views of the leaseholders – that is to say that there should be a greater discussion between leaseholders and the landlord as to whether improvements take place and the extent of the improvements.

Service Charges 
The Competitions and Markets Authority has published a report into service charges. It notes poor leaseholder satisfaction levels with local authority leasehold management. It makes a number of recommendations, largely about improving information on charges and leaseholder obligations. It suggests leaseholders should have greater powers to enforce a change of manager, but it is not clear if they mean this to extend to local authorities. The main proposal is to seek government review of the section 20 process for consulting about works, at the behest of property managers who think the current requirements too onerous. Should such a review occur, we will need to be ready to feed views in so do feel free to get your thinking caps on!

Cabinet Member for Housing Julian Fulbrook
Many of you will know Julian Fulbrook, who has been Cabinet member for Housing since Labour regained a majority on Camden Council on 6th May 2010. He has had a long career as a Councillor, with previous spells running housing, and has always been hard-working and accessible. He has emailed many leaseholders directly, regularly sorting out issues. Julian has announced that he will not be standing for another year on Cabinet, so we will have a new Cabinet Member appointed by the Leader of the Council on 20th May. We wish him well for the future.

Spring Newsletter
Our Spring newsletter was recently sent out with the Estimated Service Charges. If you missed it, you can have a read here.

Next Meeting Date
The next Forum meeting will be at 6.45pm on Tuesday, 5th May 2015 at Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, Kings Cross, WC1H 9JE; observers are always welcome. The next open meeting and AGM will be later this year.

That’s it for now!
Paul Ginsberg
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 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.

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About Camden Leaseholders' Forum

This is the official Camden Leaseholders' Forum account. Why not come along to one of our meetings to see us in the flesh? Alternatively email camden@leaseholdersforum.org.uk if you want to get in contact or, best yet, post to the Discussion Board and then you will not only hear from us, but also you fellow residents too, who have their own stories to tell and answers to give...