Camden Leaseholders’ Forum homepage › Discussion Board › Service Charges › Making a complaint about major works bill with Council › Reply To: Making a complaint about major works bill with Council
Yes, after 15 years of putting up with what seem to be extortionate major works (where are the economies of scale?), I concur with much of what is reported above. Complaining by email to leaseholder services gets a very mixed response and usually fails to address the pertinent points. I went to the drop-in session a couple of weeks ago and found that much more useful.
Challenging costs after the work has been ‘completed’ is a very difficult exercise, not least because Camden (and presumably the sub-contractors) have got your money by then. There are a number of points in the whole process which are open to abuse in the wrong/incompetent hands, and paying in advance (even once the works have started) is one of them. Snagging should be satisfactorily completed before the final installment is paid (common practice in the real world to ensure things get done).
Other grey areas include the way ‘Indirect Costs'(for Camden staff) is calculated (which must surely encourage some staff to inflate the the need for work to be done in the interests of job security, as the cost of staff is apportioned over the total amount of major works done in the year), and the possibility that Camden’s preferred contractors may not be acting as competitively as they could.
Camden have, in recent years, clarified the consultation process, but I think the same level of clarity, if not an even higher level, needs to be applied to the complaints procedure, which should be distributed along with any proposal for works and demand for payment. Although, as I have noted above, by the time works have finished it is all very difficult to complain. Probably the best thing to do is to get organised with other leaseholders in your building to have your own survey done with an independent surveyor when the section 20 comes out and before the leaseholders meeting with the contract manager and officers from leaseholder services.