Peter Wright

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  • in reply to: Coronavirus #5511
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Notice from Camden about Services on 8th April.

      Coronavirus and your housing services

    Dear resident

    You will already have seen some changes to your housing services as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic develops but your housing teams are working hard to make sure essential work continues. Your safety and wellbeing is always the council’s first priority and we are here to help you through this difficult time – you’ll find contact details at the end of this letter.

    Temporary changes to your estate caretaking service

    Your estate caretakers have been working incredibly hard with far fewer staff than normal, but we now need to make changes to make sure that caretaking resources are shared across Camden. We may need to move our caretakers to different parts of the borough, prioritising estates that need it most.

    At the moment because of illness and self-isolation we have half the staff we normally do but we know that these numbers will go up and down as caretakers come back to work or go off sick. Your safety is our first priority and your caretakers will continue to keep estates to a minimum level of cleanliness and maintain health and safety.

    Our caretakers will now only be able to carry out essential cleaning apart from on sheltered schemes where we will continue to provide our normal cleaning service – our focus is protecting our most vulnerable residents. Essential cleaning will take place from Monday to Friday and includes:

    Outside: Your caretakers will probably not be able to sweep outside areas while we have less staff. Caretakers will continue to clean bin rooms on a rotation, attempt to unblock chutes, report emergency repairs, clean up dangerous items and move bulk waste to the right place.

    Inside: We will for as long as possible keep lobbies clean and safe, clean lifts every day, check lights, signpost rough sleepers to support and try to move them on, report essential repairs.

    Your caretakers will continue to keep an eye on vulnerable residents living alone as they always have done. There will still be a full out of hours emergency service provided by residential caretakers which does include emergency cleaning. This service runs from 5pm until 11pm on weekdays and 9am until 11pm at weekends.

    Cleaning lift buttons

    We have had a number of questions about whether we will be cleaning lift buttons several times a day. The short answer is no – a disinfected lift button only stays disinfected until the next person touches it, and it’s not possible for our caretakers to clean every button in our 500 lifts every time someone uses it. What we are asking is that everyone takes personal responsibility by making sure you wash your hands thoroughly when you get home to protect yourself and your family.

    Help our frontline staff

    These are unprecedented times for the service, for Camden, for you and your families – and we need to work together. There is going to be a reduced caretaking service at times and we need you to bear with us and support our key workers who are still travelling to work, sometimes from across London, to keep where you live safe and clean. Please help your frontline staff.

    To help keep a good service running, we need everyone in Camden homes to make small changes:

    Please stand at least 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with, including our staff who are working.
    Do your bit by not dropping litter and doing what you can to keep your area clean.
    Put out your rubbish and recycling properly (in the bins or chute) so your caretakers don’t have to touch your bags. If a bin is full, find another one – and if something is too big for the chute, don’t put it in. Blocked chutes can be really dangerous and are difficult to fix.
    Don’t put tissues, food waste, nappies or black bags in your recycling – your rubbish and recycling teams won’t be able to collect it. Flatten boxes to make room in the communal bins and if you are not sure what you can recycle, check camden.gov.uk/whatgoesinbins
    Don’t put out bulky waste like furniture, fridges and mattresses – we might not be able to collect them so keep them inside your home for now.

    Thank you to some of our TRAs and residents who have volunteered to help keep their estates tidy. We are grateful for your continued support.

    Stay 2m away from everyone you don’t live with

    To prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) everyone should stay home unless you cannot work from home, are going to buy essential groceries, attending a medical appointment or exercising (once a day). If you’re using the lift in your block and there’s someone in it already, wait for the next lift or take the stairs.

    All playgrounds are now closed – even if your estate’s playground isn’t locked off by a gate, please keep everyone safe and do not use it.

    Construction Works

    Where social distancing isn’t possible, some of Camden’s major new build regeneration projects, including those in the Community Investment Programme and the West End Project, have now closed their sites.

    Some essential works to keep our council homes safe and in good repair as part of the Better Homes programme will continue with new safe working arrangements in place. We are monitoring Government advice carefully and will update you if there are any changes to works on your building or estate.

    Emergency repairs only

    We will now only be carrying out emergency repairs inside tenants’ homes. Repairs to communal areas will be carried out if it is safe to do so, and we will continue to review this arrangement. Please also note that repairs to services such as lifts, communal heating and lighting are also continuing. Emergency repairs include suspected gas or carbon monoxide leaks, loss of hot water or power and any other works needed to keep your home or building safe.

    You can find a full list of emergency repairs at camden.gov.uk/housing-repairs If you have any questions about repairs please call 020 7974 4444 (option 3 then 1).

    If you are worried about paying your bills we can help

    If you’re a tenant and you’re worried about paying your rent, get in touch with your neighbourhood housing officer on 020 7974 4444. No tenant will be evicted from our council homes if there is clear evidence that they have been unable to pay rent as a direct result of COVID-19. If you are a leaseholder and you think you will have difficulty paying your service charge or major works invoices, call call 020 7974 3559 or email leaseholderservices@camden.gov.uk

    For more information about coronavirus including what it means for your council services, how to access support, look after your mental health and what you can do to help people in your community, as well as to sign up for email updates, visit camden.gov.uk/coronavirus

    If you live alone and are self-isolating or unwell and need help to go shopping, or are worried about someone else who might need help, call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).

    Thank you for your patience and support as we work hard to keep everyone safe.
    Cllr Apak’s signature

    Cllr Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes

    in reply to: Coronavirus #5506
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Easter Newsletter

    1. The scheduled June round of DMCs has now been formally cancelled.
    2. National guidance on precautions from Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) continues to change frequently and suddenly; new guidance on masks was given last Sunday without notice. Further information on construction works from Camden is attached. I am seeking clarification of some of it, given there are ongoing issues between construction companies and HSE and PHE over implementing their official guidance (see here). Guidance on gas safety checks (which Camden is bound to follow for tenanted properties) has also changed as set out here.
    3. A TRA has suggested we fund Age UK Camden to send out basic food parcels. I will explore that with other DMC Chairs and would be grateful for views from TRAs. Have you heard of residents who are having problems getting food?
    4. A revised and updated list of resources during the pandemic is appended; almost all are free.
    5. The good news is that 70% of those entering St Thomas’ ICU with coronavirus infection are leaving alive and recovered, and new ways of treating the disease are emerging so that may rise.

    Further Camden Information on Construction Work
    The safety and wellness of our residents and people working for the Council – whether staff or contractors – is our first priority. The Council is taking action across its services to make sure that we keep staff and residents safe during the current Covid-19 crisis.
    Some essential work and services continue and at present this includes external works, Fire Safety Works and Mechanical & Electrical works to keep homes safe and in good repair.
    We have set out our expectations with regards safe working following advice from our Public Health team.
    Our contractors have been asked to make sure that their operatives and staff have personal protective equipment where this is required, observe good hand hygiene and practice social distancing to keep everyone safe.
    We have put in place an inspection regime to make sure these new working arrangements are monitored. More detailed arrangements are as follows:
    • On entering site workers are to maintain social distancing and undertake hand-washing at regular intervals throughout the day. Those showing any symptoms or are known to have come into contact with potential carriers are to self-isolate in line with PHE recommendations.
    • Where external works are undertaken to a building, contractors are to ensure social distancing or proper use of PPE in line with a specific risk assessment. Aside from Covid-19 risks, relevant PPE pertaining to the tasks being delivered would be worn, this may include face masks where dust is produced and gloves where required for manual handling etc.
    • Window replacement works have been placed on hold owing to the general requirement to have multiple workers operating inside properties during the installation process
    • FRA works – the replacement of front doors and installation of communal alarms and smoke / heat detectors in resident’s hallways (in line with recommendations of the Fire Risk Assessments) can proceed provided contractors have confirmed safe methods of work and residents confirm that they are:
    o Not currently self-isolating
    o Not currently diagnosed with COVID-19
    o Not in groups considered at risk
    o Able to comply with social distancing arrangements, i.e. isolating themselves from the work area through the installation process.
    • Communal area works – works to communal areas can proceed provided they have relevant safe working methods which maintain social distancing. These will be individually assessed as to whether they can progress depending on the design of the building, number of staircases and likely degree of resident interaction.

    Resources During the Pandemic

    Camden
    Camden Council has a webpage here. It appealed for volunteers and I am advised that some 650 responded. They have been directed to voluntary sector groups. Camden seems to have partnered with Voluntary Action Camden (VAC) which is coordinating voluntary sector activity; and with age UK Camden which is developing more personal services.
    VAC is trying to list and support local groups; you can see their work here, and the list of groups here.
    Age UK Camden sets out its activities here. The main one delivers basic food to those in need.
    Finally, the Housing Department will telephone residents regularly to check they are OK,and arrange any of the above; call Camden Council on 0207 974 4444 and choose option 9. Internet access is welcomed.

    Other Local Activity
    COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK has published a list of local groups here. Camden COVID-19 Mutual Aid has a Facebook page here.
    The Cooperative Society has a website for local support groups and citizens here.
    Nextdoor (nextdoor.com) is a website for local groups and volunteers. It has listed its volunteers to help with the pandemic on a map so you can see who lives near you; it is here.
    The ‘Camden New Journal’ has ongoing reporting of the pandemic here.

    Shopping
    ‘Which’ summarises supermarket arrangements here.
    New Covent Garden is now offering home deliveries here.
    So is Borough Market with some on-site activity see here.
    Berwick Street Market is active see here and for Soho Dairy see footnote
    The fruit stall in Kingsway is offering home deliveries; e-mail ffdhomedelivery@gmail.com website here.

    Government Action
    The government and utility companies have reached an agreement to help people with energy bills which you can find here.
    The Chartered Institute of Housing has listed government initiatives and guidance relevant to housing professionals (which means you too) here and intends to update it.

    Entertainment
    Theatre from TimeIn (was TimeOut) here;
    National Theatre here.
    The Globe Theatre explained here, and available here.
    Hampstead Theatre here.
    Lloyd Webber Theatres here.
    The show must go on, weekly Shakespeare readings here.
    Royal Court Theatre ‘Cyprus Avenue’ here.
    ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ from Birmingham here.
    Art exhibitions
    London Art Fair here.
    Photo London here.
    Opera
    Daily from the Metropolitan Opera, New York here.
    Royal Opera house here.
    Ring Cycle from Opera North here.
    English Touring Opera (about to start and you can subscribe) here.
    Vienna State Opera House here.
    Music
    Berlin Philharmonic main website in English here, and online resources here.
    London Symphony Orchestra here.
    Royal Opera House concerts here.
    Concerts and performances from King’s Place here and here.
    Jazz from the Lincoln Centre New York here.
    From artists at home:
    Julia Bullock here.
    Nadia Serota Living Music Pirate Radio here.
    Angela Hewitt here.
    Andrea Bocelli here.
    Popular from JamBase here.
    Dance
    Dance from Sadlers’ Wells here.
    Alvin Ailey Theatre here.
    Bolshoi Theatre here.
    Performance
    Royal Albert Hall here.
    Whitechapel Gallery here.
    Performances from the Southbank Centre here and here.
    Soho Theatre performance recordings can be rented here, including Fleabag for COVID-19 charities.
    Cirque du Soleil here.
    Literary
    Penguin authors speaking from home weekly here.

    Family Orientated
    Ideas from Gumtree here and for Easter here.
    Home Education courses here and from the Spectator here.
    Free English, Maths and Sciences Courses for pupils of all ages here.
    Museums online can be found here, and British Museum podcasts here.
    Virtual Chelsea Flower Show here.
    Somerset House here.
    Anglican Easter Church services are online here.

    Business
    Comments from the founder of Seedrs here and here.

    Coronavirus
    If you want to read about the science of the virus, you can access articles from the ‘Scientific American’ here.
    Cambridge University Centre Science and Policy has a series of podcasts on Science Policy and Pandemics here.

    (Footnote: Soho Dairy is up and running @BerW1ckStMarket with naturally high nutrition milks, creams, eggs, cheeses, butters, loo roll and sanitiser refill (bring your own bottle) Monday to Saturday 7am to 3pm through this episode – 02078494550 @SohoDairy)

    in reply to: Coronavirus #5499
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Here is a formal update on the state of the capital programme and other repair works:-

    Update on construction work across Repairs, Better Homes and the Community Investment Programme

    Current government guidance is that construction work on site can continue in line with guidelines around social distancing. Camden is working closely with all our contractors to ensure the health and safety of our residents and their workforce. Working with contractors we have stopped work on a number of large sites or are in the process of safely shutting down sites this week so that they can be safely vacated. Where work is continuing we are working with contractors to ensure measures are in place to protect workers and residents.

    Community Investment Programme
    We have paused all new work, postponing work that was due to commence shortly across four sites. There are currently three live construction sites across the Programme. Two of these sites are shutting down with contractors completing essential work this week to make them safe to vacate. One site remains open and is practicing safe working and following current Government guidelines.

    Better Homes Programme and Fire Safety Works
    The Council has 50 sites open at different stages. We have taken the following steps to prioritise safety:
    • Closing projects delivering work in the communal areas and inside properties across our sheltered housing schemes
    • Not opening any more properties on internal works projects such as kitchen and bathroom works, making safe or completing properties that were already opened
    • Not commencing any further window replacements across the programme as these require internal access

    The Council is continuing to deliver external work such as roof replacements, works to the wall finish, lift installation and fire safety works such as communal alarms and installation of fire rated front doors. Where internal access is required for essential work we are asking residents to confirm whether they or members of their household are self-isolating, should this be the case appointments are re-scheduled.

    Contractors have been asked to wear personal protective equipment where required and we have set out our expectations for safe working having consulted Public Health. We are working closely with contractors to make sure that they are working safely.

    Housing Maintenance
    The Council’s in house team have postponed all non-urgent internal works. Contractors that maintain mechanical and electrical systems such as communal heating, boilers and lift, have all implemented similar protocols.

    We have put in place safe working arrangements so that we can attend emergency repairs in properties where residents are self-isolating. These arrangements have been developed by working with colleagues in Public Health.

    Kind Regards

    Jeremy Shapiro
    Head of CIP Programme Office

    in reply to: Coronavirus #5496
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    In response to Mahan and to others in a similar situation, I am advised of a decision today by Camden. ” Leaseholders who have problems will be able to agree a delay to their service charge payments of up to three months. They will need to contact Leaseholders Services directly…….We are also doing some calling today re some of our elderly leaseholders to see if they are ok and need help”.

    The Services team is said to working from home and all are well, so a normal service is operating.

    Peter Wright
    Chair Camden Leaseholders Forum

    in reply to: Coronavirus #5492
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    My third update follows; if you want a version with the links

    As we enter lockdown new volunteers and new services are appearing to help Camden’s residents.
    Camden Council appealed for volunteers who have been directed to voluntary sector groups. It seems to have partnered with Voluntary Action Camden (VAC) which is coordinating voluntary sector activity, and with age UK Camden which is developing more personal services.
    VAC is trying to list and support local groups; you can see their work here, and the list of groups here. Age UK Camden sets out its activities here. The main one delivers basic food to those in need; I append the latest information about this from Camden Council.
    COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK has published a list of local groups here. Camden COVID-19 Mutual Aid has a Facebook page here. Nextdoor (nextdoor.com) is a website for local groups and volunteers. It has listed its volunteers to help with the pandemic on a map so you can see who lives near you; it is here.
    The ‘Camden New Journal’ has ongoing reporting of the pandemic here.
    Clinicians are reporting that loss or impairment of the sense of smell is a common and early symptom of COVID-19 infection. It also means that taste is lost or impaired as well. They advised that anyone who developed such symptoms without having had a head injury should consider that they may have the infection.
    The good news is that all this activity begins to assemble the way to get us all through the pandemic.

    Emergency Food Packages – provision available for those in crisis
    In recognition of the increased risk of food poverty in Camden due to Covid-19, we are partnering with Age UK to deliver emergency food packages to those that are:
    • Housebound and
    • Can’t get food and
    • Are in food crisis (loosely defined as 2 days or less of food and without perishables)
    For clarity: although we are partnering with Age UK, this offer is not restricted to those over 55. It is for anyone that is housebound, can’t get food and is in food crisis.

    From Tuesday 24th March Camden residents experiencing the challenges listed above will be able to get one of these emergency food packages through:
    • Calling Age UK
    • Calling Camden’s customer support line/ Covid-19 helpline
    • Referral by Age UK
    • Referral by Camden staff
    We are exploring how to refer from other VCS orgs, but in the immediate term VCS partners can call Age UK.

    The emergency package contains: milk, bread, butter, eggs, biscuits, tea, coffee, tinned food, cereal, toilet roll & soap.

    If you know of a resident that needs this support, you can refer them using this online form. There are two versions for the form. One for the north and south of the borough, depending on where the resident being referred lives. Anything north of Mornington Crescent tube will be NORTH & anything south, so including Somers Town and King’s Cross, will be SOUTH.
    The referrals will then be sent to the relevant team for distribution
    You will need to provide the following information:
    • Name
    • Telephone number
    • Address
    • Delivery instructions
    • Whether they have any allergies
    • Whether they have any symptoms of Covid-19
    • The name of the person making the referral
    • Whether the individual consents to their data being shared with Age UK in order that they can send a delivery package

    This a new service that we have implemented rapidly to try and respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19. We know we need to do more to prevent people going into food crisis. Work to this effect in underway and more details will follow.

    in reply to: Coronavirus #5491
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Mahan,
    Thanks; I will take this up.

    Peter Wright
    Chair, Camden Leaseholders Forum

    in reply to: Coronavirus #5485
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Here is the second notice being circulated and comes from ‘The Housing Team’

    Peter Wright
    Chair Leaseholders Forum

    COVID-19 – a message from Camden Council’s housing team

    Dear resident

    As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic develops, I’m writing to let you know that your safety and wellbeing is always the council’s first priority. National guidance has been issued this week and I know that residents are very worried, but I reassure you that we are well prepared and have plans in place to support you and keep your housing services running. We have strong communities and tenant leaders, and we will work alongside you to get through this difficult time.

    We know we will have to move our teams around as our staff are forced to self-isolate, but we are ready to work differently to support everyone who lives in our council homes as much as we can. You will see some changes to your services but please bear with us as we work hard to make sure that all essential work continues, and that the most vulnerable people in our communities get the help they need.

    Your housing teams

    Your neighbourhood housing teams will continue to work, but to protect residents and staff, the team will only be carrying out essential visits. They will be prioritising supporting vulnerable residents and people living alone with other support needs. Please look out for your neighbours, particularly if they are older, and if you are worried about them please call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9). If you live alone and need help to go shopping and can’t ask family, friends or neighbours for help, contact us on the same number.

    If you are worried about paying your rent we can help

    We know that many of our residents who are working will be very worried about the impact of the situation on their income. If your financial situation has changed and you are concerned about how you will pay your rent or council tax, we are here to help. No tenant will be evicted from our council homes if there is clear evidence that they have been unable to pay rent as a direct result of COVID-19. Please get in touch with your neighbourhood housing officer as soon as possible so we can offer you support and advice. The council is committed to supporting tenants through this very difficult time.

    If you’re concerned about not being able to pay your rent because you pay in cash or use an Allpay card, speak to your neighbourhood housing officer. You can also pay for your rent online at camden.gov.uk/your-council-rent or over the phone on 020 7974 4444.

    Temporary changes to the repairs service

    We will continue to carry out all communal and external works to your homes as normal, but for the time being we will only carry out priority repairs inside tenants’ homes. This is to keep you and our staff safe, and to avoid the spread of COVID-19. If a council officer or contractor needs to access your home, it will only be if it’s really necessary for you and the other people in your building, so please let them in.

    Essential repairs include: heating and hot water, lifts, leaks, windows and door issues including locks and essential carpentry, sanitary plumbing, electrical work, health and safety works and fire safety works.

    Non-urgent repairs like decorating, plastering, or non-emergency surveys will be temporarily put on hold. Our normal service will start again once the risk from coronavirus has reduced and we will keep you updated of any developments.

    Our repairs call centre staff will ask everyone requesting a repair if anyone in their household is self-isolating. Repairs staff or our contractors will only attend a home where a tenant is self-isolating in an emergency, on a case by case basis, following advice from our public health team. If staff or contractors need to carry out an emergency repair in your home and someone is self-isolating or has COVID-19, they will wear full protective clothing – this is to keep everyone safe.

    If you have any queries about repairs please call Contact Camden on 020 7974 4444.

    Your caretaking service

    As planned, we will be taking over the external cleaning of estates from 6 April, and you will see your caretakers in their new blue uniforms. Having said that, the most important thing for us is to keep you safe and well, so we may need to use the service in a different way and move caretakers to where they are needed most.

    Although you might not see your usual caretaker on your estate as we move staff around to cover as necessary, we reassure you that essential services – cleaning, health and safety, reporting emergency repairs in communal areas and supporting our most vulnerable residents – will continue to be our priority across the borough.

    We need to be realistic about the caretaking resources we have as we need to maintain essential services, but we do expect our staff to need to self-isolate. Our focus will be on protecting our most vulnerable residents, and we will be providing extra cleaning in our sheltered schemes where people need it most. Your caretakers will keep estates safe and clean, but we are asking every resident and visitor to follow the Public Health England advice that everyone should wash their hands thoroughly when they get home to protect themselves and their families. Public Health England advise that you:

    wash your hands more often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
    avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
    cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
    clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home.

    Please help your caretakers to keep everyone safe and well by disposing of your rubbish properly, in tied up bags and in the right place.

    Helping your community

    In the coming months we will need to work together and help each other out. If you are healthy and are not showing symptoms, please think about your neighbours and other people who may need help. If someone needs help with shopping or is likely to be feeling lonely, please look out for them in a safe way. We are creating a register of volunteers to help local people with anything from delivering food to making phone calls to cheering up people in isolation. To sign up as a volunteer visit help.timetospare.com/camden

    Maintaining your mental health

    There are a range of simple things you can do to help keep mentally healthy and physically active when you can’t get out and about as normal at oneyoucamden.org

    Camden Age UK have also set up a number of activities and services for people aged over 55 who are unwell, self-isolating or struggling to get out that you can take part in from home. They are offering an assisted online shopping service, livestreaming music recitals every day, an online book club and a telephone befriending service. Visit ageukcamden.org.uk or call 020 7239 0400 to find out more about what they have on offer for Camden residents.

    For more information

    We will continue to update our webpage at camden.gov.uk/coronavirus including information from Public Health England. We would like to keep you updated as everything is changing very quickly, so to sign up for email updates register at camden.gov.uk/coronavirus-updates

    We really appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone but your housing staff are here to support you, your family and your community in every way we can.

    Yours faithfully

    Cllr Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes

    in reply to: Cost of Camden External Building Work #5364
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Thanks for the comments.

    Our next Forum is on Tuesday, 19th November and I have no problem with discussing repairs and works then, and will explore getting an officer.

    I would just add to the comments to date.

    If you are in a street property, keep an eye on the possibility of enfranchising and taking over the freehold if you can as soon as Camden talks of doping expensive major works. There are rules on how you do this; it has traditionally only been possible if all the flats are leasehold. But, if you have a tenant minority and they agree, Camden might too. The tenants would remain tenants of Camden Council which would have a lease on their flats. So you would not necessarily escape Camden completely, but you would be in charge so long as you are supported by a leaseholder majority. For the tenants, they are unlikely to be worse off, and dealing with you is likely to be better.

    If you are in a larger property with a number of leaseholders, consider setting up a Recognised Tenants Association; it makes it easier to employ a surveyor (costs you but very much worthwhile), and gives the surveyor legal rights to see Camden documents which he can then interpret for you. No more prevarication; he sees the paperwork.

    Yes, doing anything will take lots of your free time, but if it works you will not be paying Camden top rates for poor work, and this will boost the value of your homes as and when you come to sell.

    Peter Wright
    Chair Camden Leaseholders Forum

    in reply to: Camden response rates #5149
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Harry,

    From 5.30pm to 7pm before each Leaseholders’ Forum meeting members of Camden Council’s Leaseholder Services team come in person to help go through issues that you are struggling to resolve satisfactorily. You must book your slot via leaseholderservices@camden.gov.uk in advance. If you can still make it, there is a Leaseholders Forum on Tuesday, 19th at the Crowndale Centre with a preceding session of slots. Call and e-mail them to see if they can fit you in.

    A further option is to see your ward Councillor at their surgeries, which are all on the Camden website. A Member’s Complaint has priority.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: New Kitchen #5072
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Thanks; it is always helpful to know the internal documents.

    But, as I read it although you may not require a licence in minor cases, you do need ‘the manager’s written consent’ and to supply safety certificates for any works to gas and electricity. I think it would be wise to get this written consent, and keep it.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: New Kitchen #5065
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Leaseholder Services will clear with Housing Management. Just make sure they get on with it; if not, get one of your Ward Councillors to put in a Member’s complaint about it.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: New Kitchen #5063
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    In general, you do need consent for works to your flat. It needs to come from at least the Housing Ward Manager; if there are structural issues Repairs and Improvements and Building Control (for example, if a new kitchen affects a load-bearing wall) come into play. Rarely, you may need listed building consent.

    In general, Camden leases make the leaseholder responsible for electric cables, water and gas pipes within the property.

    in reply to: Leighton Grove major works #5042
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Sorry, but you will need to spend some money to fight on Leighton Grove. Find out which properties were covered by the archetype survey, and which are in the contract with you. Then set up a Recognised Tenants Association (RTA) of leaseholders (see https://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/housing/council-tenants-and-leaseholders/homeownership/getting-involved/) with whom you can make common cause. (Try and keep the tenants on board too throughout as it will make life easier). Hire a surveyor to comment on what Camden proposes using RTA powers; you can access one through the Leasehold Advisory Service site (lease-advice.org) and you could try advice from Tower Blocks UK, as they deal with fire issues and may be able to suggest one interested in that area.

    Millman Street is, as far as I know, a heating system and so whilst an RTA is likely to be helpful, will need different advice.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Plumber Needed The Tarns #5015
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Camden has an arrangement with Origin housing for older residents, but it is not really an emergency service; see http://camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/housing/council-tenants-and-leaseholders/housing-repairs-/. Otherwise, it is the internet or Nextdoor.co.uk to see who is around.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Water damage – who is responsible? #4904
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    You need to get their view on what happened as Camden workmen have come in. If there are cracks and so structural repairs you will need Camden to come and inspect in any case, as the work could be so extensive as to be structural and so mean they would have to do it. See your lease.

    in reply to: Water damage – who is responsible? #4902
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Suggest you and tenant work together if you have both had damage.

    Basically, you claim for repairs on the block insurance policy. There is a £250 excess and you seek to recover that from the leaseholder who left the tap on, which was negligent assuming Camden warned appropriately in their letter. If necessary, you claim that through the small claims court, using evidence from Camden on what happened. But, you have to approach the leaseholder first.

    in reply to: Water damage – who is responsible? #4897
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    jj,

    Thanks; is your next-door neighbour a tenant or leaseholder?

    in reply to: Water damage – who is responsible? #4887
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    jj

    If you have had that much damage, has it also affected a tenanted flat? Have you any idea why the leaseholder above you has had several leaks? Are they resident or sub-letting?

    If a tenanted property was affected, Camden can get involved.

    in reply to: Water damage – who is responsible? #4502
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    If your property causes a leak (whether you are Camden as a landlord or a leaseholder) one you know there is a leak you are responsible for stopping it with all appropriate speed. If you do not do this, you become liable at least for any excess damage from being late. So, if Camden knows there is a defect in a tenanted flat and does not repair it, they are liable. Leaseholders are liable if there is a leak and they were negligent or failed to stop it as soon as they became aware of it. There is a £250 excess on Camden’s building insurance if you claim for water damage, which you can recover as set out.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Window Repair #4499
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    If the situation is as you set out, the advice you were given by the repair line is wrong. It is for Camden to repair the frame, and it is possible that there was a warranty on the frame which still applies and would cover the cost. Even if not, you are liable for those costs set out in your lease, which will be part only. I suggest you complain online forthwith about the way you were treated and the advice you were given. Go to https://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/council-and-democracy/having-your-say/complaints-and-enquiries/ and take it from there; you will get an e-mail setting out the wording you submit. If you can set out the date the new window went in, so much the better.

    If there is any delay in dealing with the complaint, see a Ward Councillor and ask them to raise a Member’s complaint about that.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Waxham Refurb help please #4491
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Thanks.

    Please e-mail me offline at clfchair@gmail.com as Camden needs to change its approach.

    in reply to: Waxham Refurb help please #4489
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Thanks for the update.

    Are you saying Camden did not tell you about asbestos before you bought, or later when you did your works so you had to find out by doing a survey?

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Bourne Estate Major Works £20000 bills for leaseholders #4477
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    You should consider getting together as leaseholders to challenge if the works are necessary and so reasonable and chargeable. There was a leaseholders association on the Bourne from 2002 to at least 2013. You could re-activate it. See our guidance paper from 2017 on this site. I do have details of those who ran it before, which I can let you have privately if you mean to progress this. I know at least one is still around.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: BT line repairs on Council Block – Help for permissions #4472
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Seems good to me, if that does not work happy to escalate in Camden.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: BT line repairs on Council Block – Help for permissions #4470
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Thanks. I am not clear why BT expect you to deal with this problem, as opposed to them. That is assuming you have a contract with them to supply you with a line. Where is your flat in Gospel Oak as the best port of call would be the TRA to take the matter up.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Waiting for bill for work done 4 yrs ago – Walker House #4327
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Charlotte,

    I raised your issue with Mike Edmunds head of leasehold services who promised (in public) that they would resolve this for you. If no progress, e-mail him (mike.edmunds@camden.gov.uk)

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Is ‘Florrie’s law’ actual legislation in 2017? #4313
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Dear emmajah,

    You can contact Leasehoder Services ideally in writing to ask what happened and why.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Waiting for bill for work done 4 yrs ago – Walker House #4305
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    Charlotte,

    What date in 2018 do the fnd revert?
    Was there anything in the correspondence from Camden on when an invoice would be issued?

    Peter Wright

    Peter Wright
    Participant

    There is no cross-over to Council Tax and the law is imprecise in this area anyway so councils have lots of leeway.

    The issue of the management fees for works is complex, and links back to an LVT case (LON/00AG/LSC2012/0791). LVTs get on side with leaseholders if they are 20% or more, but it does depend upon exactly what is covered.

    Peter Wright

    in reply to: Is ‘Florrie’s law’ actual legislation in 2017? #4286
    Peter Wright
    Participant

    It is an unusal form of law called a ‘Direction’ which is issued by a Civil Servant using powers in an Act of Parliament. This one is (as most of them are) very poorly drafted. It is also effectyively redundant because it only appplied to specified grants of money from central government, which are no longer being made.

    Peter Wright

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