AC Inspection Preparation Project by fTMdAM


									Leasehold Improvement Group

Repayment options for major works - Held 10 March 2010


Richard Hards - Housing Strategy and Development L B Lewisham
Sandy Canham - Head of Leasehold Services         Lewisham Homes
Ann Fitzgerald - Leasehold Services Officer      Lewisham Homes
SR                North House
KH               Walerand Road
KW               Shamrock House
DK               Hither Green Lane
IF               Tarquin House,
JC               The Terrace,
SL               Wellmeadow Road
JC                Bampton Road
IT                Fletcher Path
TM                St Johns Court
JM                Hither Green Lane
MC                Excelsior Gardens
KL                Firs Close
KB                Clarendon Rise
TD                Canadian Avenue
RM                Wilshaw House
TG                St Johns Vale
MQ                Porlock House

Item    Minutes                                                           Action

1.1     SC explained that this meeting is additional to the scheduled
        programme of meetings and has been called to discuss
        leaseholders repayment options for major works .

1.2     Richard said that the Council were considering the options that
        should be offered to leaseholders. RH is on the Procurement
        Board for decent homes work. Other authorities have various
        different timescales for payments. Some authorities require
        payment for major works within 28 days whilst others offering
       varying periods of interest free repayment options

1.3    Mayor & Cabinet will be considering proposals which include
       sending bills for major works shortly after the works start on site
       rather than wait for the final account.. This will encourage people
       to raise problems immediately rather than late on. Easier to
       resolve problems at the time they occur. Any interest free period
       would start from the date that this bill is sent.

1.4    At present the timescale for making payments is 10 months from
       when the bill is issued ( usually at final account). Proposals to be
       put to the Council are for bills of between £3000-£10000 to get
       a 36 month repayment period and those under £3000 to get up
       to 24 months repayment options.

1.5    RH explained that subject to government funding LBL through
       Lewisham homes intend to deliver £200m of works in a five year
       period. Not all of these will be for leasehold properties as works
       will also be carried out inside tenants homes, to kitchens,
       bathrooms, wiring etc. leaseholders will need to pay for works
       to the envelop of the building , communal areas and communal
       services – water tank replacements , lateral mains.

1.6    LBL do not get any subsidy or grant from central government for
       leasehold properties, therefore a cost is incurred in borrowing
       the money for these works and allowing leaseholders to pay
       over a period of time interest free.

1.7    JC said that in previous discussions about sinking finds it was
       not felt that these were a good alternative because of the
       administration costs involved. SC stated that with RTB sales
       taking place at different times leaseholders would have
       contributed different amounts. In addition some leaseholders
       would find it difficult to fond the extra money on an annual basis
       and would rather take a loan over a long term when the works
       are done.

1.8    One resident asked about properties transferring to London &           AF
       Quadrant following the successful ballot. Would L & Q have a
       sinking fund. SC said that this information should be set out in
       the transfer document. The resident had not received any
       information. – AF to take address at the end of the meeting and
       chase up LB Lewisham to get copy of the document sent out.

1.9    Question asked as to whether there is capping for first five years
       major works bills for properties transferring to London and
       Quadrant. This was confirmed

1.10   Question asked as to the present responsibility of the properties
       due to be transferred to L & Q. Until the properties are
       transferred Lewisham Homes have a duty to keep the properties
       wind and water tight and secure as well as meeting health and
       safety requirements

1.11   Another enquiry was raised regarding when the bill will be raised
       for the major works being carried out on Trinity Estate. SC said
       estimate bills will be raised after April.

1.12   A further question as to whether the Department for Works and
       Pensions are likely to give assistance with a large major works
       bill. SC said there were complex regulations. Leasehold case
       workers could assist leaseholders to make applications,
       providing them with conformation letters and assisting with
       drafting of letters.

1.13   If leaseholders are receiving Income Support they should apply
       for assistance from Department of Works and Pensions.
       Assistance might be given depending on circumstances. There
       is information on the major works bill regarding advice and
       assistance in case of difficulties making payments.
       Leaseholders are able to make 1-2-1 appointments with
       caseworkers to discuss various payment options, this can be
       done in advance of any bill being sent out.

1.14   Question was raised as to what happens if there has been no
       funding available for necessary works and because of this
       additional work was needed. RH said that costs were not
       automatically higher if works had, had to be delayed.

1.15   A resident said it did not seem a good idea to make payments
       before the works were completed in case there were disputes.
       RH said that this gave leaseholders the option of having a
       longer time to make the payments. Most major works contracts
       take between 30-40 weeks to complete. There will be specific
       residents liaison officers to deal with disputes.

1.16   A resident said in the private sector a specialist insurance policy   RH
       was taken out which backed up the 10 year guarantee. This
       ensured a good standard of work as it was in the insurance
       company’s interest. The work would be regularly checked. SC
       said this could involve heavy costs and that there would be
       consultants appointed by Lewisham Homes who would be
       checking all the works. All contractors are obliged to have
       adequate insurance guarantee. This is stipulated in the
       specification. Resident said this was not the same insurance he
       was referring to. RH said he could raise this issue at the
       procurement board.

1.17   SC explained that there is a loan that leaseholders can apply
       for, leasehold caseworkers would discuss the options with any
       leasehold wishing to apply. Anyone thinking of applying for this
       loan would also be advised to seek independent advice. A
       service charge loan will extend the loan period but will attract
       SC advised that when major works bills are sent out all the
       payment options are listed.

1.18   A comment was made that a major works charges could be           RH
       raised ,somebody may have extreme difficulties making the
       payment, they may have 3 years to pay and then further major
       works comes before payments are finished. RH said that this will
       be looked into. The programme should be set up to try to stop
       this happening, but there could be instances of this happening.

1.19   RH said that contractors would be allowed to sub contract out
       work. The building industry is based on sub contracting out
       certain works.

1.20   Question raised about planned maintenance works. Planned
       maintenance is a good policy dependant on budgetary
       restrictions. Long term contractors will not be involved in routine
       planned maintenance for instance seasonal clearing of gullies..
       This can be discussed at the next meeting when communal
       repairs is a topic for discussion.

1.21   RH said that the proposals for repayment options is only for
       resident leaseholders not for leaseholders sub letting their

1.22   Question raised as to whether there will be any discount offered      RH/SC
       if payments are made in one go. RH said this idea would be

1.23   SC confirmed that the management charge for the major works           SC
       was 10% at present but would be reviewed.

1.24   There was a further concern raised regarding the quality of the
       major works contractor. SC explained that presentations on this
       and getting value for money in the long term contracts had been
       given to the LIG and further updates would be given as we work
       towards letting the contracts. There would also be further
       consultation notices sent.

1.25   SC summarised the repayment options proposals which are to
       be considered by the Council and the comments from
       leaseholders, particularly about the prompt payment incentive.
       There was a general agreement that these proposals were

1.26   Question raised as to the situation if a leaseholder sells their
       property while major works are carried out before the bill is
       raised. SC said that information would be given to the sellers
       solicitor as part of pre conveyancing enquiries. The buyers and
       sellers solicitors will make an agreement on who is going to pay.

1.27   JC asked whether interest was charged if a charge is put on a
       property. SC said that it depended on how the process was
       carried out and whether it was a voluntary charge.. Each case
       was different.

       End of Meeting


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