22nd September 2015 at 22:39 #1850
Hi, I’ve just received an estimate invoice of £37,000 major work for our flat, for window and door replacement. How can we fight it? Is there any Florries law cap applicable? How can we find other leaseholder to discuss and fight this together?
We are completely at a loss and awfully stressed about this awful bill.
Thanks for any information and advice you could provide!22nd September 2015 at 22:57 #1851
Gosh, that is awful. This council is really … well no words. I’ve just been hit with a bill for our lift, which does need done I agree, but at least they should only bill me after they finish the work. It is very stressful tho.
I’m no lawyer, but I am a journalist. If I were you I would get an independent FREE quote for the works. See if it even makes sense first. If it’s bang on I guess we don’t have a leg to stand on. I think though you may be able to fight it somehow if it’s way off.
I know, I’m not helping much here but hoping that you know you’re not the only one might help.
And let’s keep this forum lively. We may have some consortium going eventually. I’d be interested to know how you get on.23rd September 2015 at 12:13 #1853
You really need to refer to the terms of your lease to see what you can and can’t do.
The Mandatory Reduction in Service Charge may apply if Camden have received funding from any government programme applied for since 12 August 2014 and the leaseholder is a qualifying lessee, meaning an individual who occupies the dwelling as his or her only or principal home. This caps service charges at £15000 for a five year period.
You should now be in a consultation period and you can email the consultation coordinator to ask if this will apply and whether they have received government funding. If it is part of the Better Homes work that is being undertaken on Chester Road then it will be part of the cap but only if it is completed by March 2016. It seems unclear if they will be entitled to funding if they do not complete by this time.
It is normally part of the lease to pay the service charge before the work is carried out but there are various methods of financial help such as spreading the payments that you can find out about by contacting Camden.
It is normally the leaseholders responsibility to pay for the works. There may be some cases where it is not. The leaseholders advisory service is a great reference point for further info. If it goes to tribunal the main thing that they look at is reasonableness and liability to pay but it will always come down to what your lease says so you need to study this.
http://www.lease-advice.org/lvtissues/23rd September 2015 at 15:51 #1855
Thank you so much for your replies. The letter mentions “major works (better homes)” but there is no guarantee/certainty about government funding.
The council officer says that they want to complete the works before March 16 so that they can apply for the government funding. That means that the mandatory capping is uncertain and that they intend to carry out the works anyway. There is no guarantee either that the work will be completed by March 16.
They have already chosen one contractor and the quote was given by that one contractor, because they didn’t have to go through tenders for this apparently.
We are now in the consultation phase, but if the council already decided to carry out the work, what kind of observations from leaseholders can really be taken into account? Or is this just an exercise “for the records”?
Have anyone gone through this and how have you challenged the council?
many thanks23rd September 2015 at 17:22 #1856
Hi there. Can’t help much, but this guide will help you find your fellow leaseholders on your estate:
Within our Guides section (on this website) we’ve also got some stuff on how to form a Leaseholders’ Association which may provide useful and also about how to challenge the Major Works process if you feel that it is unfair.
Kind regards, Paul Ginsberg23rd September 2015 at 19:03 #1857
First of all I have been doing loads of research because I am going through this myself. I am not a solicitor and I am happy to be corrected. Please check everything yourself.
Even if Camden go ahead and do the work when they send you the service charge bill (and even after you have paid it) if you do not believe it to be reasonable and/or that you are liable to pay then you can raise the issue with the First-tier tribunal (what used to be the LVT I think). As I said before it will mainly come down to your lease but I think it is worth making observations so if it comes to a tribunal you can at least say that you made observations and they ignored them. It is their legal obligation to give you this chance and they have to respond to every observation. If they do not carry out the consultation properly they will not be able to charge any household over £250 so I expect them to be very thorough (you are getting charged for the consultation process too).
One issue that I have raised (and has been won previously) is that of the issue of improvement or repair.
I do not need new windows and I definitely do not need or want the double glazing that they intend to fit. They are able to charge me for necessary repairs but not for improvements and as I don’t even need a repair I don’t think they can charge me for changing the window. I also think that they need planning permission which they haven’t got. I called the planning people and they agreed with me so I let them know about this straight away.
There are some changes that I definitely need and I will have to pay for and cannot argue. For example the hallway has wood chip wallpaper and awful carpets. These do not meet the re fire regs and will have to be changed. There’s not point arguing with this. You need to figure out what is and what isn’t “reasonable”.6th October 2015 at 19:18 #1891
get an independent quote. it is your right to do this.
i live on the holly lodge estate- my block was a trial block for work
which was done badly. subsequently other blocks got a smaller firm in
who did the work much better – and cost less.
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