Hi JGB, I have a £29k bill for forthcoming major works (after previously being fleeced by Camden 7 years ago for £5k for the worst work imaginable). When I got the first bill two years ago I started work on the matter, since then the bill jumped up from £22k to £29k and very little progress had been made.
Dealing with regular staff at the Council in my experience is totally pointless.
The first thing to do is dig into your bill. My £29k bill is mainly unspecified provisional costs (or unspecified work), work which simply cannot be done (for example, fire safety work in communal areas – but there are no communal areas) and the profits on top of that. You should check what your bill is for and if it seems like a reasonable cost for the work, and see for yourself if the work actually needs to be done.
I have tried many things in the last 2 years. The bits that were helpful were looping in my MP and Councillor and taking it as high up inside council admin as possible. I contacted Leasholder Knowledge Forum who were helpful with a contact for a specialist solicitor.
In my experience the work happens a lot later than they say it will…. also the consultation is a deliberate time wasting box ticking exercise. Don’t put any store in it.
The stage I am hoping will work is the ‘validation’, after scaffolding goes up, allegedly an independent surveyor will check that all the work awarded by Camden to a newly formed Essex building company will be verified. Any works that are not needed will be removed from the bill at this stage.
As I have no experience with validation it’s hard to tell if it will work. If it doesn’t I have a solicitor and surveyor lined up and will apply to the LVT immediately.
Last time round was a con. The company Camden hired are marred in scandals in hackney and elsewhere. Camden sued them, but no information or benefits from their claim were passed on. They have subsequently awarded more vast contracts to the same firm.
This time around I’m told that the systems have changed, but I’m braced for the quality of the work being as bad on this £29k job as on the £5k job a few years ago.cSo getting a realistic validation of the cost of works is only the set of it.