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The cost of a decent home?

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Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Friday, 21 July, 2006 - 02:19 pm:   

Jennifer Dussard of the Leaseholders Action Group, Honor Oak Estate points out in the South London Press (Page 10) the council presented bills between £20,000 and £30,000+ to some residents on the estate, with payment expected within 21 days.

I understand there may be some leaseholders of council properties who use this site who are in a similar situation. It may be worth contacting Jennifer for help and advice?
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 21 July, 2006 - 10:17 pm:   

That sounds very high.
Did the Council serve section 20 notices?
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Friday, 21 July, 2006 - 10:42 pm:   

I'm facing the same problem right now. The residents of my block took our complaint to the Leaseholders Valuation Tribunal. Final decision pending as we're still waiting for the bill to come in. The quotes we were given were huge.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Saturday, 22 July, 2006 - 01:06 am:   

I don't know if section 20 notices were served.

My interest was because earlier this year I saw in a council report references to charges of £20,000+. Although there were letters in the press from leaseholders in another borough complaining about £6,000 bills there were none from Lewisham residents.

Also in this weeks SLP is a 2 page spread on the Decent Homes Scheme and how borough's hope to fund the scheme.

I believe the results of the May inspection are about to be announced, which will give an indication if the council/ALMO is likely to achieve the required 2 star status.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 22 July, 2006 - 04:44 pm:   


There are strict guidelines that the Council must abide by when consulting leaseholders about major works. These guidelines are set out in Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended). I believe that charges to individual tenants above £250 must go through this process. If the Council did not follow this process it may not recover costs above £250.
The letter on page 10 of the SLP appears to indicate that the leaseholders did not anticipate receiving such large bills. However, it does suggest that this may be because the works were not carried out on the leaseholders' flats.
This is puzzling. Obviously replacement of communal windows (i.e. windows on staicases etc.) need to be apportioned throughout the block. But the letter suggests that tenants are being asked to pay a share of the cost of replacing windows in other tenants' flats!
I think the leaseholders need to ask Lewisham Council to account for the bills they have received.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Thursday, 10 August, 2006 - 09:55 am:   

The council have announced a bid of £145m by the ALMO 'Lewisham Homes' seeking funding to deliver decent homes by 2010. It's one thing to have a positive attitude but I find the following misleading.

"Lewisham Homes, which will be officially launched in January, will give tenants and leaseholders more control over the management of their properties and, crucially, unlock huge amounts of central government funding."

At no point does the article mention the star system. It's obtaining 2 stars which unlocks the central government fuding not merely the creation of an ALMO. shamBidsForDecentHomesFunding.htm
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 14 August, 2006 - 12:15 pm:   

The above link no longer works as the Decent Homes news item appears to have been removed of the Council website.

Meanwhile Keely Sherbird of the South London Press reports the Mayor has put back the delivery of the Decent Homes scheme from 2010 to 2012 because of 'construction costs'. I would have thought something like that would have been factored in ages ago. In the recent local election the Mayor pledged the Decent Homes scheme would be completed by the end of 2010. lewisham/tm_objectid=17542867%26method=full%26site id=50100%26headline=%2ddecent%2dhomes%2d%2dnot%2dt ill%2d2012%2di%2dm%2dafraid%2d-name_page.html
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Friday, 29 September, 2006 - 10:54 pm:   

Last week a councillor asked the cabinet member for customer services, what advice officers gave before May 5th this year on the likely timescale for delivering decent homes improvements.

The reply was about the council's response to the governments suggestion that the council may like more time because of extra costs brought on by such projects as the Olympics.

Here is the supplementary and reply as recorded in the minutes.

Councillor Robson:
'My question was not answered. Before 5 May, was 12 June the first you had heard about a 2012 deadline?'

Councillor Wise:
'I am sorry about this. I will get back to you with an answer.'
Joined 20-03-2005
Posted on Sunday, 01 October, 2006 - 06:49 pm:   

As I have posted today on the other Decent Homes thread on this site, I am still waiting for a one to one meeting with the revealed Loneranger, to discuss these issues. An offer that was suggested by me on 14/12/05, nearly a a year ago.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 03 October, 2006 - 12:04 am:   

Susan, is it possible for you to put your answer to Cllr Robson's supplementary question on the forum?

Is there any chance the council could publish in full the recent inspection of housing rather than just a summary. So that tennants/leaseholders can make fully informed decisions?

Will the council be writing to the South London Press regarding the article on leaseholders at Meadow Court?
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 10 October, 2006 - 03:37 am:   

This item found on the News Shopper website may explain the reluctance of our elected representatives to discuss the Decent Homes Scheme? play.var.955542.0.anger_at_bills_being_charged_by_ council.php

According to an item over the weekend on BBC Breakfast leaseholders in Tower Hamlets face bills of up to £60,000.

Also in the BBC item a spokesperson for Islington Council said they were campaigning to have the law changed regarding costs passed onto residents.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Sunday, 29 October, 2006 - 11:38 am:   

Don't know if it reflects on the power of but in the latest edition of Lewisham Life there is a full page feature on Lewisham's Decent Homes Scheme.

The article refers to a deadline of 2012 and points out 2 stars are required before the governmnt will make Lewisham homes decent to live in.

There is no mention of what happened to the pledge to complete the scheme by 2010 or reference to the recent audit commission report and the likelihood of 2 stars being achieved.

I don't know if it is significant but according to the article the next housing inspection seems to have been put back a year to 2008.
Joined 20-03-2005
Posted on Sunday, 29 October, 2006 - 07:22 pm:   

The piece on the ALMO for Decent Homes in the latest edition of Lewisham Life is part of the programme of updating council information to residents. The next housing inspection of the ALMO has not been postponed as Loneranger appears to suggest, it was always planned to be held one year after the ALMO goes "live", which will happen January 2007.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Sunday, 29 October, 2006 - 09:50 pm:   


My understanding is that some building deadlines have been postponed because it is believed that the building of the olympic stadium and other facilities will absorb all the building industry's capacity. The postponement is designed to allow the Council to avoid "rip-off" prices from the construction industry. The theory is that if they have enough work to keep them busy, they will tender high prices or not bother to tender at all.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 30 October, 2006 - 09:10 pm:   


About 2 or 3 years ago the council experienced a lack of interest from building companies due to their books being full. As a result the bidding for the PFI Grouped School project (Forest Hill, Greenvale & Crofton) was put back a year.

Then in June last year the council announced building work at Crofton School would began July 10. I think because of funding issues the work did not begin. I believe the work is now due to start summer.

Much of the Building Schools for the Future scheme will take place between now
and the Olympics, so will they bear additional costs or will some be postsponed?

Re Decent Homes I could not see how the council could deliver the scheme in the timeframe I thought they might have (3.5 yrs), olympics or not.

Working on the dates given by Cllr. Wise the council were looking to deliver the Decent Homes scheme by the original deadline to 11,500 properties in 2.5 years.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 30 October, 2006 - 09:20 pm:   

Cllr. Wise

Hello, officers of the council always led me to believe an inspection would take place 6 months after the ALMO went 'live'. Which in the current circumstances would mean summer 2007, with the funds following a few months later if 2 stars were awarded.

The 'Lewisham's Decent Homes Strategy' (June 8th 2005) that went before the Mayor refers to 6 months as being typical (Para11.3).

The report also contained a timetable (Para. 14) for the ALMO…

Summer 2005 - Shadow ALMO board established

Spring 2006 - Go 'LIVE' under management agreement

Autumn 2006 - Best Value Inspection

Spring 2007 - Funding released

This was accepted by the Mayor and full council in June 2005, and shows 6 months between the ALMO going live and being inspected.

If I've misread the document please let me know. Thank you.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 30 October, 2006 - 09:41 pm:   

Elements of the recent Audit Commission examination have been made public in the South London Press.

Last Friday's edition carries a cartoon (Page 16) based on a section of the commission's report. An article by Keely Sherbird indicates the subject of the cartoon....

'They (Audit Commission) produced a report that made grim reading for the council's leadership....But at least Lewisham chiefs were able to read the information presented to them...inspectors revealed that sight-impaired visitors to one of Lewisham's housing offices wre prevented from reading a Braille sign - because somebody had put it behind glass.' ess/lewisham/tm_headline=quit-call-in-homes-row%26 method=full%26objectid=17996671%26siteid=50100-nam e_page.html
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 08:41 pm:   

A report on the ALMO goes before the Mayor next week. Yet another report that makes no reference to the conclusions of a recent Audit Commission inspection of Lewisham Housing.

It seems illogical to me for the council to omit from the report the most update opinion of the council's prospects of achieving 2 stars and therefore £145m funding. Surely it would put the rest of the report into context for the Mayor leading to a better informed decision.

Anyway, the council report has a revised timetable. Which is described as, "an ambitious timetable reflecting the determination of both the Council and the Shadow Board of Lewisham Homes to urgently drive forward service improvements and provide better quality
services for its residents."

Compared with the 2005 timetable it appears to be less urgent.

Dec 2005 - Shadow ALMO board selection

Jan 2007 - ALMO goes 'LIVE'

Mar 2008 - Audit Commission Inspection

Autumn 2008 - Funding released/Work starts
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 10:03 pm:   

The full Audit Commission report into Lewisham's planned ALMO has quietly been made available on the Lewisham website. Be warned it is very long.

To give you flavour of the report the first line of the summary is, "Overall, we judge that there are more barriers than drivers for further
improvement in services." and the last line, "There is a lack of leadership and ownership from senior managers and some officers are not effectively skilled to deliver service

One of the first recommendations of the report is it is made available to the why in August were the council saying the report was for internal use only.

The November issue of the Lewisham Homes newsletter makes no mention of the findings of the Audit Commission report. emesInLewisham/IndicativeInspectionReport.htm
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 08 November, 2006 - 08:28 am:   

The council are currently advertising for a 'Strategic Housing Manager' at £85K a year, applications need to be in by Nov 28th.
Joined 01-04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 08 November, 2006 - 08:57 am:   

Is that the budget or the salary?
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 08 November, 2006 - 05:57 pm:   

I think it's the salary.

This whole Decent Homes thingy is very strange. This time last year the Mayor agreed a timetable of Mock Inspection: Feb 2006

ALMO goes live: August 2006

Inspection: Feb 2007

Funding: April 2007.

It is only this year's timetable that allows 12 months between the ALMO going live and the all important inspection for 2 stars.

Also last year the Mayor agreed if the mock inspection failed (and the 2010 could not be met) the ALMO would not happen and tenants would be consulted on a stock transfer.

Good thing the mock inspection didn't happen till May and councillors were briefed on the mock inspection 7 days after the Mayor announced the Decent Homes scheme would be delayed to 2012.

Maybe officers should list 'what's new or different'in reports/documents to flag it up to the public.

Think I'll put my horse out to graze...
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 11:38 am:   

It seems like council members are to investigate social housing following the audit commssion report of last year... play.var.1205039.0.reacting_to_housing_reports_cri ticism.php
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 12:28 pm:   

To be honest people who have purchased council property generally got a great deal. Maybe should have read the small print

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