News Update – September 2019

Topics in this Update


Forum Meetings
Leaseholder Services Advice Surgery
Building Safety
Caretaking Review
Repairs Service Reorganisation
Communal Electricity and Gas
Buildings Insurance
Responsive Security Patrol and CCTV
Estate Parking
HS2 Update
New Landlord Structure for Council Owned Properties
Care for Elderly and Disabled Residents
Camden’s Community Investment Programme
Housing Scrutiny Committee
Other Concerns

Forum Meetings
The next Forum meeting is on Tuesday 24 September at 7pm at Crowndale Centre, 218 Eversholt St, London NW1 1BD (around the corner from Mornington Crescent Underground Station). A full list of Forum Members can be found here. To contact a member representing your district please email camden@leaseholdersforum.org.uk with “FAO [Member Name]” at the top of the message.

At our meeting on 28 May, the Chair informed members of the sad news that Chris Tarpey a Forum member and leaseholder of the Chalcott Estate had unexpectedly passed away recently.

The draft minutes of the May 2019 Forum meeting are posted here on the Council website. The agenda pack for the forthcoming meeting will be available on the website a week before the meeting.

Please note that whilst leaseholders and other observers are welcome to attend, only Members have a right to speak. To address the meeting on an Agenda item, known as a deputation, please send in a written request no later than 5pm on Thursday 19 September, to the Committee Support Officer outlining the points you wish to make. More information on making a deputation is available here on the Council website.

Leaseholder Services Advice Surgery
Just before the Forum meeting there is also the Leaseholder Services Advice Surgery running from 5.30pm to 7pm. You can arrange to meet with a member of the Leaseholder Services team who will help to explain bills and resolve outstanding issues. You must make an appointment – email leaseholderservices@camden.gov.uk or call 020 7974 4444.

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Building Safety
The Director of Resident Safety has reported on the Government’s response to the Hackitt Building Safety Review and its consultation White Paper about new building safety legislation. The report also updates on the Council’s planning for compliance with a revised statutory safety regime and the establishment of Camden’s Resident Safety Programme. The report may be found on the link here; a further report will follow by the end of the year.

In April 2019 Camden decided to produce a Camden Resident Safety Charter, through a community conversation. A report (June 2019) by the Head of Resident Safety, Engagement & Strategy may be found on the link here. As part of the process the Council has been undertaking a Safer Council Homes survey. An update on the results to date of this survey may be found on the link here.

A report titled ‘Fire evacuation policy and Fire Risk Assessment update’ by the Director of Property Management & Resident Safety, tabled for the September DMC meetings, may be found on the link here. It sets out general current thinking on whether residents should stay or evacuate if there is a fire.

Whilst Camden has promised to upload Fire Risk Assessments, once checked and verified, to the Council’s website here, it is unclear whether this is happening. The latest update, at 2 August 2019, lists FRAs for 110 buildings – just a small increase from the 92 listed in May 2019.

A Fire Safety Advisory Panel (FSAP) was established in January 2018 to bring together residents, relevant professionals, staff and Members with the relevant knowledge and skills, in order to put in place measures to ensure that Camden residents never have to experience another Chalcots like incident. The meeting of the Fire Safety Advisory Panel which was due to be held in June was cancelled. The next meeting is to be held on 10 October 2019.

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Caretaking Review
A report by the Director of Housing Management which provides an update on the Caretaking and Estate Cleaning Review may be found on the link here. The proposals for the new service are subject to a Single Member Decision by the Cabinet Member for Better Homes, which is expected to be considered in September 2019. Given staff transfers and re-training, the new service is likely to take some six months to become fully operational.

Repairs Service Reorganisation
The Cabinet Member for Better Homes has reported (link here) that the Council is addressing the issues around the repairs contact centre which has been struggling to meet the demand of enquiries. An early measure was to transfer in August the call handling for repairs to the Property Management division. A report titled ‘Repairs services and engagement with residents’ by the Director of Property Management, tabled for the September DMC meetings, may be found on the link here.

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Communal Electricity and Gas
Camden notified leaseholders in May 2019 (19/001) that it intended to enter into long-term agreements for the supply of electricity and gas to communal areas (such as estate lighting, lifts and central heating boilers). Camden applied to the First Tier Tribunal (the FTT) for approval to dispense with some of the statutory consultation requirements. The FTT approved the application on 24 July (Case LON/00AG/LDC/2019/0080). The FTT Decision may be found on the Council website here. The Council has undertaken to provide on its website, within 21 days of entering into a contract the following information:
• The name of the energy supplier;
• The date of the agreement;
• The contract duration;
• The date upon which the supply starts and
• The date upon which the contract ends.
Within two months of any request from a leaseholder, and after entering into a contract, the Council will make available for inspection by a leaseholder, information about the contract rates and price components and how these relate to supplies procured for all properties.

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Buildings Insurance
Leaseholders whose properties are insured with NIG UK by Camden should be aware that if they suffer water damage caused by a leak it is advisable to notify the insurer of this immediately, even if at that time the leaseholder does not intend to make a claim.

We have been alerted to a case where a ‘water problem’ ran on for several months, even though the initial leak had been remedied. When the leaseholder claimed for a subsequent leak, NIG rejected the claim on the grounds that the leaseholder had not notified them within 90 days of first noticing the problem (disclaimer on the penultimate page of the Policy).

Responsive Security Patrol and CCTV
A May 2019 update by the Head of Facilities Management titled ‘Update on the level of calls responded to by the Responsive Security Patrol following the increase in hours’ may be found on the link here.

A May 2019 update by the Head of Facilities Management titled ‘New Housing CCTV Network’ may be found on the link here.

Estate Parking
A report titled ‘Estate parking update’ by the Principal Lead Officer for Parking and Access, tabled for the September DMC meetings, may be found on the link here.

HS2 Update
A report titled ‘HS2 Update’, tabled for the September meeting of Camden DMC, may be found on the link here.

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New Landlord Structure for Council Owned Properties
The Cabinet Member for Better Homes has reported that the new Landlord Service has been launched in the north of the borough and that anecdotal evidence already suggests positive feedback in the new way of working. The service will be implemented in the south from September 19th.

Care for Elderly and Disabled Residents
The Acting Director of Adult Social Care has tabled a report to the Housing Scrutiny Committee. The report provides an update on the work being undertaken to implement the October 2017 recommendations of a Housing and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Panel to improve outcomes for older and disabled residents. A link to the report may be found here.

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Camden’s Community Investment Programme
Camden’s Community Investment Programme (CIP) is an ambitious 15-year plan to invest over £1 billion in schools, homes and community facilities in Camden. A report by the Director of Development provides a review of CIP since its launch in December 2010 and may be found at Agenda item 7 on the link here. The issue is that the programme invests money which is later recouped through selling some new properties, and falling house prices are affecting the calculations made in 2010.

Housing Scrutiny Committee
The next meeting of the Housing Scrutiny Committee is on Monday, 9th September 2019 at 6.30pm. The Agenda pack may be found on the link here.

Other Concerns
If there is a particular matter of concern to you, please post details on the website Discussion Board or email your suggestion to camden@leaseholdersforum.org.uk

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