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									Partners for Improvement in Islington
         For Improvement in Islington


Leaseholders’
Handbook
2008
       Contents                                         Section



       Introduction                                          v

       How to contact us                                    ix

       Our mission statement                                1

       Our service promise                                  2

       Your lease                                           3

       Service charges                                      4

       Reporting repairs                                    5

       Anti-social behaviour, nuisance and harassment       6
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       Planned major works                                  7

       Alterations and improvements to your home            8

       Buying, selling and subletting your home             9

       Buying the freehold or extending your lease         10

       Buying extra land and loft spaces                   11

       Buildings insurance                                 12

       Getting involved                                    13

       Getting more advice                                 14

       Useful contacts                                     15

       Additional information                              16
Translation
This is a handbook for all leaseholders of Partners for Improvement in
Islington. It contains important information about your tenancy.
If you would like this document in another language or format, or if you
require the services of an interpreter, please contact us on our freephone
number 0800-587-3595.
If you would like to have a copy of this handbook in Braille, in larger print,
on a tape or a CD then please contact us on 0800-587-3595.


Turkish




Spanish




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Somali




Greek




Bengali




Portuguese
       Introduction
       Welcome to our Partners Leaseholders’ Handbook. It gives useful and
       essential information about your lease and living in your home. We hope
       you will find it helpful.


       What is Partners?
       ‘Partners’ means Partners for Improvement in Islington.
       Partners is a group of organisations that manages housing through a type
       of contract called a Private Finance Initiative (PFI – see below). The housing
       contract, established by the London Borough of Islington (the Council), aims
       to improve the standard of leasehold and tenanted properties it manages
       on behalf of the Council.
       Partners now manages two housing contracts for Islington Council. Our
       first contract started in May 2003 (Round 1) and our most recent contract
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       started in October 2006 (Round 2). Our Round 1 contract lasts for 30
       years and our Round 2 contract lasts for 16 years.




                                                                                        v
     Which organisations are involved in
     Partners?
     Partners is made up of different organisations, and each has a specific role
     in delivering the housing contracts.


                                Hyde Housing Association provides the
                                housing management service, including rent
                                and service-charge collection, tenancy and
                                leasehold management and customer services.
                                We call Hyde Housing Association our
                                Housing Management Team.

                                United House is refurbishing the properties
                                during the first five-and-a-half years of each
                                contract. We call it our Works Team.

                                United House Maintenance provides the
                                gas services. We call it our Gas Team.




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                                Rydon Property Maintenance provides
                                the day-to-day repairs service. We call it our
                                Repairs Team.

                                HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) lends
                                the money for the project.


     What is a PFI?
     A PFI is a Government programme aimed at releasing money from the
     private sector and central government to spend on council-owned property.
     It is an alternative to transferring ownership of the properties from the
     Council to other organisations (stock transfer). This means the Council still
     owns all the properties, but does not manage them.


     How it all works in Islington
     j Partners, a specially created organisation, enters into a contract with
        the Council to improve, manage and maintain the Council-owned
        properties for 30 or 16 years.

vi
       j Partners will bring the properties up to an agreed standard, keep them
          at that standard and provide management and maintenance services
          during the contract period.
       j Partners is paid a fixed fee for doing this. This fee is performance-
          related, so if Partners doesn’t provide the service or maintain the
          properties to the agreed standard, we lose money.
       j The Government gives the Council ‘PFI credits’ towards the cost of
          delivering the contract.


       Who checks what Partners does?
                                     Homes for Islington monitors Partner’s
                                     performance closely to make sure we are
                                     meeting the standards set by the Council. Homes
                                     for Islington is owned by the Council, but it
                                     operates as a separate organisation (called
                                     an arm’s length management organisation, or
                                     ALMO).
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       About this handbook
       This handbook will give you a general idea of your rights and
       responsibilities as a leaseholder, and our rights and responsibilities as the
       Council’s managing agent. The section ‘Our service promise’ sets out the
       service standards you can expect from Partners and what to do if you are
       not satisfied.
       This handbook covers many subjects and can only offer general
       information. If you have any questions that are not covered here, please
       contact the Leasehold Team at Partners who will be happy to help. See the
       section ‘How to contact us’


       About your lease
       Your lease is a complex legal document and you should not use this
       handbook as the only guide or interpretation of your lease, or of current
       law. You should not rely on the handbook in any disputes to do with your
       lease. In such circumstances we advise you to always seek independent
       and impartial advice.



                                                                                       vii
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       How to contact us
       By phone
       Between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, you can contact the offices
       on these numbers:
       Freephone       0800 587 3595
       Switchboard     020 7288 8310
       Minicom         020 7354 9121

       For out-of-hours emergency repairs, please phone
       0800 195 5255.
       Calls to 0800 numbers are free from landlines, but charged at your
       network rate from mobiles.

       In person
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       You can visit our offices between 8.30am and 5pm,
       Mondays to Fridays, at:
       4–6 Colebrooke Place    and      Omnibus Workspaces
       London N1 8HZ                    United House
                                        North Road
                                        London N7 9DP
       If you wish to see a member of staff from the Leasehold Team, we advise
       you to ring beforehand to make an appointment.


       By email         enquiries@partnersislington.net

       Through our website                  www.partnersislington.net

       Residents Forum               forum@partnersislington.net

       Partners Feedback Line                   020 7288 8317




                                                                                 ix
    Notes




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x
                                                                                  1


       Section 1
        Our mission statement
        To improve homes and provide excellent services through partnership and
        innovation.




        Our strategic aims
        1 To work in partnership and innovate to provide excellent customer
          services
        2 To improve and maintain homes
        3 To manage our business efficiently and effectively
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        4 To develop our people



        Our vision
        To be considered excellent by our tenants and leaseholders




        Our values
        Excellence, Partnership, Innovation, Respect, Loyalty, Trust




                                              1
1   Our mission statement




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                     2
                                                                                     2
       Section 2
        Our service promise

        Whenever you deal with us, we will:
          be helpful and polite
          listen to and respect your views
          ask for your views on our service and use what you tell us to improve it
          deal with your enquiries quickly, fairly and sensitively
          serve all members of the community whatever their race, ethnic or
          national origin, sex, disability, sexuality, religion or belief, or age.
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        If you contact us, we will:
          answer your call within six rings, giving our name
          at the office, see you quickly, and in private if you choose
          answer your letters within 10 working days
          make sure you can use our service whatever your needs.


        When we visit you, we will:
          make appointments convenient to you
          let you know if we can’t keep the appointment or are running late
          leave a card if you are out and tell you how to rearrange the
          appointment
          always carry and be willing to show you identification
          respect your home and all reasonable customs
          compensate you if we fail to keep a repair appointment we have
          arranged with you.


                                              1
    Our service promise
2




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    We will provide you with:
      a copy of this handbook and a welcome letter for all new leaseholders
      an estimated annual service-charge statement and invoice (bill) in April
      each year
      an actual service-charge statement and invoice (bill) in October for your
      share of costs for the previous financial year
      a final statement of total costs for any major works done to your
      building, soon after work is completed
      a range of ways to pay your service-charge and major-works bills,
      including interest-free monthly instalments for major-works bills


                                       2
                                                                                      2

        a resale pack of essential information if you want to sell your home,
        normally within 10 working days of receiving payment for the pack.


       Meeting our service standards
        If you feel we have not met any of our service standards, please tell
        us and we will investigate. If we agree that we have not delivered a
        service to our set standards, we will apologise and try to put things
        right. If you have suffered financially because we have not met a
        service standard, we will consider paying you compensation.
        We also appreciate positive comments, so if a member of staff does
        something particularly well, please tell us. It can make all the difference
        to know that we are doing well and will help us improve our service.


       Making a complaint
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        If you are unhappy with our service, you can use our complaints
        procedure. At each stage of the procedure we will try to resolve your
        complaint to the best of our ability.
        If you are complaining about our policy, we will explain the reason for
        our policy.
        You can view our complaints policy and procedure on our website
        www.partnersislington.net. You can get a complaints form by contacting
        us (see ‘How to contact us’) or you can download one from our
        website.


       If you are unhappy with our response
        If you are unhappy with our response, you can take your complaint to
        the Independent Local Government Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will
        only consider your complaint if you have gone through all the stages of
        our complaints procedure. See ‘Useful contacts’ for more information.




                                           3
    Our service promise
2




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                    4
       Section 3                                                                          3
        Your lease

        What is a lease?
        A lease is a legal agreement or contract between you and the person who
        owns the land and the building your home is in. The lease sets out both
        parties’ rights and responsibilities. The lease also sets out your rights and
        the procedures you must follow if, for example, you want to sell (assign)
        your lease, alter your home, or sublet it.


        Your lease
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        Your lease is a type of tenancy that allows you to live in your home for a set
        period of time, usually 125 years, starting from when the first property in
        your building was sold. The set period of time is known as the lease ‘term’.
        If you bought your home on the open market, the seller will have
        transferred the rights and responsibilities to you under the lease for the rest
        of its term. There are a small number of properties where the council do not
        own the freehold of the building. In these cases the lease between you and
        the council is known as the underlease, but it works in almost the same way
        as if the Council did own the freehold.


        What is Partners responsible for?
        Your lease sets out the services Partners provides, on behalf of the Council,
        and how Partners can recover the cost of those services through service
        charges.




                                              1
    Your lease


3




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    Why you need a lease
    A lease will legally protect you and the Council if there is a dispute about,
    for example, repairs, service charges or shared areas.


    What if the terms of the lease are broken?
    Partners is responsible for ensuring the Council meets its obligations under
    the terms of your lease. If we have failed to do something required by your
    lease, please tell us and we will try to put things right.


                                          2
                                                                                       3
       If we think you have breached (broken) the terms of your lease agreement,
       we will contact you; for example, if you are behind with your service-
       charge payments or have made an alteration to your home without our
       approval. If you do not put things right, we will take further action. As a
       last resort we will take legal action, which could lead to you losing your
       home without any financial compensation.


       How to get a copy of your lease
       The Land Registry will provide you with a copy of your lease for a small
       fee. The Harrow Office deals with leases in Islington – see ‘Useful contacts’
       for more details.
       Or you can get a copy from us for a fee of £10.
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       Ground rent
       As your lease is a type of tenancy, you have to pay rent for the ground
       your property is built on. This is known as ground rent and is a fixed
       amount of £10 every year.


       Your rights and responsibilities
       As a leaseholder you have the right to live peacefully in your home. In
       return, you must meet the obligations of your lease. These include the
       following:
          Paying the ground rent, insurance premium and all service charges
          due, including your share of the costs of major repairs done to your
          building.
          Doing all repairs that are your responsibility. This includes repairing,
          renewing or replacing all the fittings, fixtures and services to your
          home.




                                             3
    Your lease


3
       Not making any structural alterations or additions until you have our
       written permission. This includes moving or removing internal walls. See
       the section ‘Alterations and improvements’ for more information.
       Not causing a nuisance or annoyance to your neighbors. Not
       harassing or causing offence to others, including Partners staff.
       Using your home only as a private residence.
       Informing Partners if you plan to transfer the lease or sublet your home.
       Keeping your home in good repair and condition.
       Allowing us into your home to do repairs to your home, or to other
       parts of the building, or to neighbouring properties, as long as we give
       you 48 hours’ notice in writing (except in emergencies).
       Allowing us into your home to do repairs to your home that are your
       responsibility, if you have not done them yourself within a reasonable
       time. We will charge you (recharge) the full cost of such work, including




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       VAT and any administration costs.
       Being responsible for any water leaks and for the cost of repairing any
       damage caused.
       Not putting up a TV aerial or satellite dish outside your flat or on the
       building without our permission.
       Not displaying an estate agents’ board outside your home or in a
       window of your home.
       Not using your home for running a business.
       Not using your home for immoral or illegal purposes.

    You are responsible for looking after everything that is inside your home or
    that relates only to your home.
    This includes:
       inside walls that are not part of the main structure (e.g. dividing walls)
       and plasterwork
       ceilings and floorboards or flooring, but not ceiling or floor joists
       (beams)


                                          4
                                                                                        3
          decoration and general repairs to the inside your home
          doors and doorframes (including your own entrance door to your
          home)
          window glass, but not window frames
          toilet, sink and bath fixtures and fittings
          tanks, pipes, plumbing, wiring and drains supplying water, gas and
          electricity to only your home
          individual central-heating and hot-water systems and radiators
          individual private garden area (if you have one).


       What property do you own?
       The lease plan shows the property you own, which is known as the
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       ‘demised premises’. The plan also shows where your home is in the
       building and whether your property includes a private or communal
       garden.
       Usually, the space inside the roof is not included in your property, even if
       access to it is only through your home. The same applies to any flat roof
       surface on the building.


       Other conditions of your lease
       The lease also sets out various conditions for you, your family, your visitors
       and anyone else who lives in your home on how you and they live in
       and use your home. These conditions ensure that residents don’t cause a
       nuisance to others or damage to the building. You also have other rights,
       such as the right to sell or sublet your home. We explain these elsewhere in
       the handbook.




                                              5
    Your lease


3
    Responsibilities not covered by your lease
    There are other charges and services for your home that are not conditions
    of your lease but are still your responsibility. These include:
       contents insurance
       gas, water and electricity charges
       Council Tax
       residents’ parking charges
       garage or parking-space rent, if you rent these from the Council.


    Partners’ rights and responsibilities
    On behalf of the Council, we (Partners) are responsible for the main
    structure and exterior of the building, the shared parts and any shared




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    services to your building. These will depend on the type of property live in,
    but will include:
       external walls and inside structural walls
       roof, foundations, timbers, joists (beams), chimney stacks, drains and
       guttering
       window frames
       common parts, including shared entrance hallways, staircases and
       landings
       boundary walls, fences and footpaths
       electrical and mechanical services to the building, such as entry phones
       and communal lighting.

    Partners, as agents for the Council, have the right to access your home to
    do inspections or repairs. We must do this at a reasonable time and give
    reasonable notice (48 hours’ notice in writing). In an emergency we may
    need immediate access, and if we can’t contact you we may have to force
    entry or get a court order allowing us access (or both).



                                         6
       Section 4
        Service charges
                                                                                     4

        What is your service charge?
        Your service charge is your contribution towards the day-to-day costs of
        maintaining and repairing the structure, exterior and shared parts of your
        property. It also helps pay for things like lighting to shared areas and
        certain specialist services, such as pest control and grounds maintenance
        in communal garden areas. You service charge also covers administration
        and management costs.
        Your service charge doesn’t include costs for services we only provide
        to tenanted homes in your building, such as internal repairs and heating
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        services. As a leaseholder, you are responsible for these for your own
        home, including the upkeep of your garden, if you have one.


        How we share the cost of services and
        major works
        We share the cost of repairs and services to your building among all the
        homes in the property. According to your lease, the Council (and Partners,
        as managing agent for the Council) can choose any fair and reasonable
        way of sharing costs. At the moment, we use a points system to decide
        your share of service charges and major-works costs, based on the number
        of rooms in your home. We allocate a point each for a hall, living room,
        bathroom and kitchen and one extra point for each bedroom (so bedsits
        and studio flats would be allocated four points and a one-bedroom flat
        would be allocated five points).
        However, we do not use this system when dividing costs for window repair
        or maintenance. We charge you the full costs of repairing and maintaining
        the windows for your home only, plus a share of costs for any communal



                                            1
    Service charges



    windows. Also, if you are a basement leaseholder and do not use the
    door-entry system, we will not charge you for any door-entry renewal
4   or maintenance work. This will not mean that other leaseholders in the
    building are charged more for the door-entry system.


    How we work out your service charge
    Your Estimate Service Charge statement
    On 1 April or soon after each year, we will send you a statement of our
    Service Charge Estimate. This sets out your share of our estimated costs
    for the coming financial year, which runs from 1 April to 31 March.
    The statement will be a combination of estimated and known costs. For
    example, we know how much the yearly building insurance premium is, but
    we can’t accurately predict how much communal electricity and day-to-day




                                                                                   2008
    repairs and maintenance costs are going to be over the year coming year.
    When you receive your Service Charge Estimate, you can pay it over the
    year in instalments, monthly or every three months, by standing order.
    After the end of the financial year, we know how much everything has
    actually cost, and we then work out your share. We compare the difference
    between the estimated charges and the actual charges, and adjust your
    service-charge account accordingly.

    Your Actual Service Charge statement
    This is a statement of your share of the actual cost of services and repairs
    over the last financial year. We send you this six months after the end of
    the financial year, on 1 October or soon after. If your estimated charge for
    the previous year was more than the actual charge, we will put a credit on
    your service charge account for the difference. If the estimated charge for
    the previous year is less, we will ask you to pay the amount you owe us.




                                         2
       Explanation of the headings in your service
       charge statements                                                            4
       Communal Repairs
       The cost of day-to-day repairs and maintenance to your property, including
       the structure, exterior and communal areas.


       Communal Services
       The cost of communal electricity, pest control, garden maintenance and
       horticultural services will be deducted separately if you receive these
       services.


       Ground Rent
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       £10 rental charge each year for the ground your building is on.


       Buildings Insurance
       Insurance cover for damage to fixtures and fittings inside your home (eg
       damage to your ceiling from a water leak). It also covers damage to
       communal areas and to the structure of your building. You are responsible
       for insuring your personal belongings and decorations.


       Management Fee
       The staffing costs of Partners Leasehold Team who provide leasehold
       services such as calculating your service charge, preparing your annual
       accounts, consulting and billing for major works, recovering service
       charges and dealing with enquiries from leaseholders who wish to alter
       or improve their homes. It also includes a contribution towards other
       staffing costs, such as the Tenancy Team’s day-to-day housing management
       costs. These may include dealing with things like anti-social behavior
       problems between leaseholders and tenants, reporting communal repairs,
       leaseholder enquiries to Partners’ Repairs Team, and dealing with


                                           3
    Service charges



    leasehold enquiries about grounds maintenance and pest control. It will
    also include the costs relating to other Partners staff involved in managing
4   the leaseholder properties and any associated office costs.


    New Services
    Partners may, in agreement with the Council, introduce new services to the
    properties it manages. Before Partners introduces a new service, it must
    consult all the residents affected by the change.


    Ways to pay your service charge
    Most leases require leaseholders to pay their charges quarterly (every three
    months), or yearly in advance. With Partners you can pay:
       by cheque, yearly or quarterly




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       by bank transfer direct into your service-charge account, yearly or
       quarterly
       online by bank transfer direct into your service-charge account, yearly
       or quarterly
       monthly by standing order
       monthly by swipe card payments at your local bank, post office,
       or payment outlet (swipe cards are available on request from your
       Leasehold Officer)
       over the phone using you debit card. Unfortunately we are unable to
       accept credit card payments.

    We will provide up-to-date details of payment options when we send you
    your estimated and actual yearly statements.




                                          4
       Partners will take action against leaseholders who are late paying their
       charges. Action will range from:
          adding interest onto late payments                                         4
          seeking a Money Judgment in the court
          taking legal action that may result in you losing the lease of your home
          (as a last resort).


       If you have difficulty paying your service
       charge
       If you are having difficulty paying your service charge bills, you should
       contact the Leasehold Team at Partners as soon as possible – see ‘How to
       contact us’.
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       If you have service-charge arrears, you will be breaking the terms of your
       lease and we could take legal action. This could lead to you paying extra
       interest plus any legal charges, or, in extreme cases, even losing your
       home. We will always try to take into account your circumstances and do
       everything we can to keep you in your home. We will consider legal action
       only when we have tried everything else.


       Service charges for major repairs
       Please see the section ‘Refurbishment and major works’.




                                            5
    Service charges




4




                          2008




                      6
       Section 5
        Reporting repairs

        Partners’ repair responsibilities                                               5
        Partners is responsible for repairing and maintaining the main structure of
        the building and the common areas, and for providing services, including:
           all structural walls, roofs, window frames, foundations, shared drains
           and external decorations
           communal services to the block, such as entry-phones and communal
           lighting
           all internal and external communal areas of the building, such as
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           internal decorations to communal areas and repairs to fences, footpaths
           and boundary walls.


        Your repair responsibilities
        Under the terms of your lease, you are responsible for repairing and
        maintaining:
           internal non-structural walls, floors and ceilings
           internal decorations
           kitchen units, sanitary ware (toilets, sinks and baths) and other fixtures
           and fittings
           heating systems, flues, plumbing and electrics that serve only your
           property.




                                              1
    Reporting repairs



    Reporting repairs
    To report a repair or maintenance problem for which Partners is
    responsible, you should contact the Customer Service Team:
       by phone (from 8.30am to 5pm)
5      in person at either of our offices
       online (see below).
    (See ‘How to contact us’ for details.)
    When reporting repairs, please give us as much information as possible,
    including your contact details and how the repair can be accessed, if
    needed.
    Reporting repairs online: You can now report repairs for communal or
    external areas online via Partners’ website: www.partnersislington.net.




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    How quickly we will complete a repair
    We give every repair we order a priority code, which tells you the longest
    time it should take to complete the repair. The times for each repair type
    are:
        Emergency repairs – within 24 hours
    An emergency repair is a repair that if left could endanger the health and
    safety of you or anyone living in your home, for example dangerous wiring
    in a communal hallway or a serious roof leak. Please do not report these
    type of repairs online.
       Urgent repairs – up to 7 working days
    An urgent repair is a repair that is necessary to allow you to live in your
    home in comfort, such as a repair to prevent a roof leak.
        Routine repairs – 25 to 28 working days
    We will treat all other repairs as routine. Repairs to fences, walls and
    general maintenance needed to communal areas would be classed as
    routine.



                                             2
       Reporting emergency repairs out of office
       hours
       After 5pm all emergency repairs go though to our emergency call-out
       centre, run by First Point. First Point will take details of the emergency repair
       and then ask one of our appointed contractors to do what is needed to
       make the property safe. All other repair work needed after the property has
                                                                                           5
       been made safe will be dealt with within the usual timescales, listed above.
       Emergency repairs 0800 195 5255 (after 5pm).

       Water leaks into another property
       If water leaks from your home into a neighbouring leasehold home, you
       will be responsible for dealing with the leak and any damage caused. This
       will mean getting someone to repair the leak, and claiming on your own
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       insurance for the costs.
       If water leaks from your home into a neighbouring tenanted home, Partners
       Repair Team will do any repair work needed to the tenanted home, but
       may bill you for the costs of the work needed to put right the damage
       caused.
       If we become aware of an ongoing leak from a leasehold property, we will
       try to contact the leaseholder and let them know what repair work needs to
       be done.
       If the leaseholder does not do the necessary work to stop the leak, we will
       write to them asking them to do the repair within a certain time. If the work
       is still not done, we will get an injunction (court order) to enter and do the
       work ourselves. We will only do this as a last resort, but the leaseholder
       would have to pay the full costs (including VAT) of stopping the leak, plus
       any legal and administration expenses.




                                              3
    Reporting repairs



    Emergency leaks
    In an emergency when there is a serious leak, Partners may have to force
    entry to a home if we cannot contact the leaseholder. This would arise if
    the building and the homes below the source of the leak are being badly

5   damaged. Partners will try to stop the leak and do any emergency repairs
    necessary. Partners will inform the leaseholder of what has happened and
    what repair work they will need to do.




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                                        4
       Section 6
        Anti-social behaviour,
        nuisance and harassment
        The term ‘anti-social behaviour’ includes all behaviour that causes
        annoyance, nuisance or disturbance to people’s quality of life.
                                                                                       6
        Your responsibilities as a leaseholder
        You are responsible for the behaviour of everyone living in or visiting your
        property, including children and sub-tenants. You are responsible for their
        behaviour in the property, in shared areas and around the property. All the
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        properties we manage are in traditional houses, which have often been
        converted into several flats or maisonettes. This means you will be living
        close to your neighbours and sharing some areas of the property. Many of
        the things you do may affect your neighbours.
        We take all complaints about anti-social behaviour seriously. If you report
        anti-social behaviour to us, we will:
           take full details from you of what has happened
           arrange an interpreter if you need one
           investigate by telling the other party about your report (we will not
           mention your name)
           consider the most appropriate action, after we have fully investigated
           contact any other agencies that may be able to help resolve the
           situation
           support and advise you throughout
           take action whenever we feel it is in our power to do so
           work with the Police and other agencies when we need to.



                                             1
    Anti-social behaviour, nuisance
    and harassment


    What is harassment?
    Harassment is behaviour aimed to cause distress to an individual or group
    of people.
    Harassment can take many forms and may happen for many reasons. The
    most well-known type of harassment is based in a person’s race, but it can
    be based on age, disability or sexuality.
    We believe you have the right to live in your home without harassment,
6   violence, or the threat of violence. We take very seriously any report of
    harassment and investigate thoroughly. We work closely with you, and
    possibly the Police, to solve the problem.


    What can you do if you are suffering
    harassment?




                                                                                 2008
                                                                                 2008
       Contact the Police and Partners.
       Keep a record of all incidents, noting the date, time, place, what
       happened, who was involved and the names of any witnesses.
       Record and try to photograph any damage to your belongings (such as
       graffiti or vandalism).
       If you are hurt, go to your doctor or the nearest accident and
       emergency department. They will treat you, and record your injuries
       and treatment. This can be valuable evidence if you take your attacker
       to court.


    What can we do?
       When you report harassment to us, we will investigate it.
       We will record all the details and give you the name of someone to
       contact if there is another incident.
       We will arrange an interpreter if you need one.




                                          2
          We will take suitable action, which may include:
              doing any repairs and removing graffiti
              helping to make your home safe
              moving you to another home
              taking action against the person harassing you, or starting eviction
              proceedings.
          We will agree with you what we will do and confirm this in writing. We
          will also let you know how your case is progressing.                        6
       What can the Police do?
       If you want to involve the Police, in an emergency call 999. Otherwise,
       contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
2008




       The Police can take action against anyone who has:
          physically attacked you
          deliberately damaged your property
          threatened or verbally abused you
          tried to cause racial hatred, for example by handing out racist leaflets.

       The Police will take details of any incident, whoever reports it. They will
       investigate and interview witnesses. If there is enough evidence and they
       know who is harassing you, the Police will prosecute them, if you wish.
       If the incident is one of a series of attacks against you, the Police may be
       able to arrange support for you.


       Nuisance and noise
       Nuisance, including noise nuisance, is an unwelcome feature of modern
       life. The person causing the nuisance may be unaware of the problems they
       are causing.




                                             3
    Anti-social behaviour, nuisance
    and harassment


    In a building, sound travels very easily from one home to another. Please
    be aware of this and try to minimise noise from your home. Here is some
    general advice about avoiding noise nuisance:
       Don’t lay laminate flooring in your home if you live in a flat or
       maisonette. Hard flooring increases noise from your home, so the noise
       from general living may be loud enough to disturb your neighbours.
       Don’t play loud music late at night or early in the morning. Be
       considerate at all other times.
6      Don’t let your visitors make a lot of noise when they are leaving your
       property, particularly late at night or early in the morning.
       Don’t use your washing machine or vacuum cleaner early in the
       morning or late at night.
       Tell your neighbours if you are planning a party, and be reasonable
       about how long it lasts.




                                                                                    2008
                                                                                    2008
       If your neighbours say you are making too much noise, listen to their
       complaints and respond in a reasonable way.


    If you are suffering nuisance
    If you are suffering nuisance, try to resolve the matter yourself first by
    talking to the person responsible. If this doesn’t solve the problem, or you
    don’t feel able to talk to the person responsible, contact Partners Leasehold
    Team for help and advice. We may ask you to write or email us with all the
    details.
    We will only act in a dispute between neighbors if there is a clear breach
    of the tenancy or lease conditions. If this is the case, we can seek a court
    order to repossess the offending resident’s property. In serious cases, this
    could result in the tenant or leaseholder losing their home. To succeed in
    any legal action, we must prove that:
       the nuisance exists and is likely to continue, and
       the nuisance is serious enough to justify eviction or forfeiture
       proceedings (a leaseholder losing their lease).


                                          4
       If we are taking legal action on your behalf, you may need to appear in
       court or to make a statement, so make sure you keep a note of the times,
       dates and type of any nuisance.
       In cases of excessive and ongoing noise or pollution, the Council’s
       Environmental Health Department can take action. They have the power to
       deal with noise, poorly kept animals, accumulated rubbish, smoke, fumes
       and gases coming from a building, dust, steam and smells from industry.


       Keeping the communal hallways clean                                           6
       and tidy
       If you share hallways, you must arrange with your neighbours to keep them
       clean, including any windows. If you have recently moved in, ask your
       neighbours what arrangements are already in place.
2008




       If windows are so dirty that they endanger health or safety, we can arrange
       a one-off clean.
       You must not keep any of your personal belongings in a communal hallway
       – they may be dangerous or block the escape route if there is a fire. We
       will ask you to remove any belongings you have left in the hallway and if
       you do not, we will dispose of them.


       Gardens
       Many of the properties we manage have communal gardens. In most
       cases, residents have come to an arrangement about who maintains
       the garden. It is your responsibility as a leaseholder to ensure that you
       maintain your own garden and do not allow it to become overgrown. If
       you have an overgrown tree in your communal garden that needs pruning,
       contact Partners and we will arrange for the Council’s sub-contractors,
       Greenspace, to do the work. Please also report any plants and bushes
       that are growing out of control and affecting the property i.e Japanese
       Knotweed.



                                           5
    Anti-social behaviour, nuisance
    and harassment


    Disposing of rubbish
    Make sure you put all your household rubbish in securely tied bags before
    putting them in the dustbin or refuse store, if you have one. If you don’t
    have a refuse store, keep your bags of rubbish in a place where they won’t
    block your neighbours’ way or annoy them.
    If you have your own dustbin, put it in front of your home on collection
    day. If you share bins with your neighbours, agree with them who will
6   be responsible for putting them out on collection day. If you don’t have a
    dustbin, leave your bags of rubbish in the correct place to be collected on
    the right day of the week.
    Don’t put rubbish out onto the street before collection day.
    If you have large items to dispose of, for example large pieces of furniture,
    you can arrange for the Council to remove them. For bulk rubbish removal




                                                                                    2008
                                                                                    2008
    see the contact details in the useful contacts section.




                                          6
       Section 7
        Planned major works

        What are planned major works?
        These are large renewal, repair and maintenance jobs we do to your
        building that we can plan for in advance. This may include work to
        external brickwork, the roof, communal windows and internal decorations.
        Under the terms of your lease, you must contribute towards the cost of this
        work as a service charge. However, you pay for it in a different way to
        your normal yearly service charge. We explain this later in this section.
                                                                                      7
2008




        Consulting you about major works
        On 31 October 2003, the regulations about consulting leaseholders about
        major works changed. The new regulations are quite complicated but the
        main points are:
           We now have to consult you if the cost of qualifying work to
           any leaseholder is more than £250. Qualifying work is repairs,
           maintenance, renewal or improvement work to your building.
           We have to follow certain procedures for consulting you if the Council
           has entered into what is called a ‘qualifying long-term agreement’ with
           a contractor, such as the PFI contract Partners manages.

        Because the Council entered into the PFI contract with Partners before
        31st October 2003, we must follow the consultation procedure stated in
        Schedule 3 to the Service Charges (Consultation Requirements) (England)
        Regulations 2003. The same rules also apply to our Round 2 contract,
        since the regulations also cover contracts that were advertised in the
        Official Journal of the European Communities before 31 October 2003.




                                             1
    Planned major works



    How we consult you before starting major
    works
    If Islington Council had chosen Partners after 31 October 2003 to refurbish
    its properties, leaseholders would have been able to suggest a contractor
    of their choice to do the work to their building. Unfortunately, you will not
    be able to do this, but you will have the opportunity before work starts to
    comment on the proposed work or the likely cost (or both). Before the work
    starts, we will send a document called a ‘Schedule 3 Consultation Notice’
    to each leaseholder and any recognised tenants’ association.
    This document will:
7      describe the work to be done
       state why the work is necessary
       contain a statement of the estimated total costs of the proposed work




                                                                                    2008
                                                                                    2008
       (Our statements also provide the leaseholder with an individual estimate
       of their own likely charge)
       invite written comments on the proposed work or the estimated costs (or
       both) during a 30-day consultation period.

    Partners must take into account any comments it receives about the work,
    and respond in writing with 21 days of receiving them.


    Consulting you further
    As well as following the legal requirement for consulting you, we also give
    you another more detailed estimate after the scaffolding has been put up.
    You will receive this estimate when the works are nearing completion or
    have just recently finished. It is only once you have received this second
    estimate that you will have to start paying for the work. Also, once the
    scaffolding is in place, you will have the opportunity to meet one of our
    Works Team at your home to discuss your estimate and the work we are
    doing, if you wish. You will usually receive your second estimate just after
    the work is completed.


                                         2
       Maximum charges for work to your
       building
       Under the PFI contract, the most we can ask you to contribute towards the
       cost of work to your building, including major works and any day-to-day
       repair and maintenance, is £10,000 in any five-year period. This is known
       as a Mandatory £10,000 Cap.
       If your major-works bill is more than £10,000, the mandatory cap will be
       applied for the next five years. This means you will not have to contribute
       towards the costs of any more major works or day-to-day repairs in that
       five-year period.
                                                                                     7
       Bringing our properties up to standard
2008




       One of the reasons the Council decided to establish a PFI contract was to
       ensure Council-owned properties would be brought up to a good standard
       of repair. The council has set a standard of maintenance called the
       Availability Standard, which all its properties must reach.
       On behalf of the Council, we must bring all properties up to this standard
       through our works programme. The amount and type of work for each
       property will depend on its current condition. Some properties may need
       little work – other will need major works. For all leasehold properties, we
       need to keep the structure, exterior and any communal areas in good
       repair.
       To reach this standard, we have extensive programmes of maintenance
       and refurbishment works for all properties. For properties under the
       Round-1 contract, the programmes of work run from April 2003 to 2008.
       For properties under the Round-2 contract, the programmes run from 2006
       to 2011. After the works have finished on each round, we will do periodic
       work to ensure we maintain all properties to the Availability Standard.




                                            3
    Planned major works



    For all buildings we will:
       bring the structure and exterior of the building up to standard (roofs,
       brickwork, pointing and rendering)
       decorate the outside and any shared hallways
       repair and replace windows, if needed
       damp-proof any properties that need this
       repair communal doors, boundary walls and footpaths where needed.


    Paying your contribution towards major
7   works
    Under the terms of your lease, you must pay your share of the cost of major
    works, in full, within 14 days of the work completing. Because major-works




                                                                                  2008
                                                                                  2008
    costs are usually high, most leaseholders would be unable to pay within
    14 days. So we have arranged various payment options to help you
    manage your major-works bill, and to help leaseholders who are struggling
    financially.
    Payment options are listed on the notice we send you about the work that
    will be done (called a Schedule 3 Notice). The current options are:
    1 Pay in full when you receive your second estimate, which will be sent
      when the works are nearly finished or recently completed. If you pay in
      full at this stage, we will reduce your final service-charge account bill
      (when issued) by 2.5%.
    2 Pay in full within 14 days of receiving your Final Statement of Total
      Expenditure when the works are complete. If you pay in full at this
      stage, you will also receive a 2.5% discount.
    3 Pay over 12 or 24 months by monthly standing order, starting from the
      date we send you your second estimate and bill.
    4 Pay over five years, with interest being charged from year three.




                                         4
       5 If you are a Right-to-Buy leaseholder and you are still within the first five
         years of your lease, we can only charge you the amount stated on your
         Offer Notice, plus inflation costs (if applicable). If the amount stated on
         your Offer Notice is a lot less than the cost of the work, we may have to
         reduce the payment period to 12 months, but we will not do this if you
         are a pensioner or you are in financial difficulties.
       Please contact the Leasehold Services Team if you wish to discuss payment
       options or need more information – see ‘How to contact us’.


       Frequently asked questions about
       refurbishment work                                                                7
       We have a list of frequently asked questions about major works on our
       website: www.partnersislington.net. The list has been compiled with help
2008




       from the Leasehold Focus Group and residents who have already had work
       done to their homes.




                                             5
    Planned major works




7




                          2008
                          2008




                    6
       Section 8
        Alterations and
        improvements
        to your home

        Getting permission
        Under the terms of your lease, you need to get our written permission
        before making any structural alterations or additions to your home.
        Examples of work you need permission for include:
                                                                                       8
2008




           replacing your windows
           building an extension or conservatory
           altering the internal layout of your home
           converting a loft.

        You need to get our permission for any work that will alter the structure or
        layout of your home, even if the work will not affect the main structure of
        the property, such as removing an inside wall.
        Once we have received details of what you want to do, we will decide
        whether or not to give permission. If we give permission, for all structural
        and some other complex building work you will also need a legal
        document called a Licence to Alter to be prepared and signed before work
        can start. In some cases, you may also need a Deed of Variation.




                                              1
    Alterations and improvements
    to your home


    When you need a Licence to Alter

    Changing the structure or layout of your home
      For all structural work, such as building an extension, converting a loft
      or renewing windows.
       If you intend to alter the internal layout of your home. This would
       include removing any structural walls; also if you want to block up an
       opening or create a new one. You may need one to remove a non-
       structural inside wall. If you intend to remove any wall in your home,
       you must first inform us and we may ask you to send us your structural
       engineer’s report.

    Changing in the use of a room

8



                                                                                  2008
    The Council does not normally allow residents to change the use of a room,
    for example using a bedroom as a living room. This is because most flats
    have a similar layout; bedrooms are above bedrooms and living rooms are
    above living rooms, which helps minimise noise nuisance. Having a living
    room above a bedroom may create a noise nuisance for neighbours.
    However, the use of a room may be changed if:
    1 it can be proved that there is a complimentary layout in the flat below
    2 the proposed work is in a maisonette and the proposed change is on
      the second floor so will only affect the maisonette.


    When you do NOT need a Licence to Alter
    You do not need a Licence to Alter for general internal decoration,
    renewal or replacement work.
    But you will need our written permission for work that may create a
    nuisance to neighbours, such as replacing existing flooring with wood,
    stone or ceramic tiles, which can create a noise nuisance.




                                         2
       What is a Deed of Variation?
       A Deed of Variation is required when you intend to build an extension,
       install new windows, or putting in Velux windows in the loft. The Deed
       of Variation makes you responsible for all future repair, renewal and
       maintenance work.


       When you do NOT need our permission
       but you still need to notify us before
       starting the work
       Please let us know about:
          internal rewiring to your home
          new heating systems
                                                                                   8
2008




          new plumbing and tanks
          new kitchens or bathrooms
          installing an air conditioning/ventilation system.

       Before starting this kind of work, we advise you to contact the Leasehold
       Team, who need to ensure the work will not affect other homes in the
       building or any communal systems or services.




                                            3
    Alterations and improvements
    to your home


    Doing work without the required
    permissions
    If you do work without getting the required permissions, you will be
    breaking the conditions of your lease. You may also be breaking Planning
    and Building Control regulations. If this happens, we or the Council may:
       order you to return your home to the condition it was in before you did
       the work, or
       take court action against you.

    You would have to pay all the legal and building costs involved.


    Other permissions you may need to
8   apply for




                                                                                   2008
    As well as getting our permission, you may also need to get planning
    permission from the Council, who is the local planning authority. You may
    also need approval from Building Control, including a Building Notice. See
    ‘Useful contacts’ for details.
    Before applying for our permission, we recommend you contact the
    Council’s Planning Department and Building Control, because getting their
    permission can take much longer. If you wish, you can apply for permission
    from us, the Planning Department and Building Control at the same time.


    When we cannot process your application
    for permission
    We cannot process an application for permission if you owe service
    charges. If this applies to you, you will need to contact the Leasehold Team
    to discuss clearing your arrears first.




                                         4
       Extensions, conservatories and lofts
       If you want to build an extension, put up a conservatory or convert a loft
       space, you need to check that you own the space you want to alter. For
       example, if the garden is shared, you will not be allowed to build an
       extension over it. The loft is not usually included in the ownership of an
       individual flat, even if it seems that only you have access to it. In this case,
       you would need to ask us if you can buy the loft space.
       If you are unsure whether you own the space you want to alter, your lease
       plans will show exactly what you own. If you don’t have a copy of your
       lease, contact the Leasehold Team who will provide a copy for a small
       fee (currently £10). Or you can contact the Land Registry – see ‘Useful
       contacts’ for details.


       The stages of getting permission to alter                                          8
2008




       your home

       Stage 1
       If you want to alter your property, you should write first to the Leasehold
       Team and give us as much information as possible about what you intend
       to do. The Leasehold Team will do some initial checks and let you know
       whether your proposed alterations are in line with the Council’s alteration
       policies.


       Stage 2
       Your application will then be passed to our Asset Manager, who may
       contact you to visit your property. Our Asset Manager will report to us with
       recommendations about your application.




                                              5
    Alterations and improvements
    to your home


    Stage 3
    If we are happy for you to continue, we will notify you and ask you to send
    us a payment for the Council’s legal fees of preparing your Licence to Alter
    (currently £350) and Deed of Variation (£350 if applicable). See below for
    more about fees.


    Stage 4
    The Council’s Legal Department will contact you or your solicitor (or both)
    and draw up your Licence to Alter or Deed of Variation. The Licence to
    Alter will give you permission to do the proposed work and will state any
    conditions for the building work and future maintenance.
    Once we have received your fee payment, we will instruct Islington’s Legal
    Services to issue the Licence to Alter (and Deed of Variation if applicable),
    allowing you to do the proposed work. You should not do any work until
8



                                                                                        2008
    you have received your licence.


    Stage 5
    Once the work has been completed, you should contact the Leasehold
    Team who may arrange for one of our Asset Managers to inspect the work.
    If they are satisfied with the work, they will write to let you know. If they are
    unhappy with the work, they will let you know what needs to be put right.
    The fee for this inspection is currently £250.




                                           6
       Current fees (these may change yearly)

       Licence to Alter                                 £350

       Deed of Variation                                £350

       Deed and Licence                                 £420

       Final inspection                                 £250



       Fast-track service (within three working days)

       Licence to Alter                                 £500
                                                                               8
2008




       Deed of Variation                                £500

       Deed and Licence                                 £620

       Final inspection                                 £250

       Cheques for the Licence to Alter and Deed of Variation should be made
       payable to Islington Council and not to Partners or Hyde Housing
       Association.




                                          7
    Alterations and improvements
    to your home




8



                                   2008




                     8
       Section 9
        Buying, selling and
        subletting your home

        When you qualify for the Right to Buy
        If you are a tenant interested in buying the lease for your home and your
        tenancy started on or after 18 January 2005, you will qualify for the Right
        to Buy five years from the date your tenancy started. If your tenancy started
        before 18 January 2005, you will qualify for the Right to Buy two years
        after your tenancy started.
2008




        Selling your home and repaying your
        discount
        If you have bought your home under the Right to Buy and now want to sell
                                                                                        9
        it, you may have to repay some or all of the discount you received under
        the Right-to-Buy scheme.
        Repaying your discount if you applied for the Right to Buy before 18
        January 2005
        If you sell:
            within one year, you must repay all of the discount
            after one year and before two years, you must repay 66.6% (two
            thirds) of the discount
            after two years and before three years, you must pay 33.3% (one third)
            of the discount
            after three years, you will not need to repay any discount.




                                              1
    Buying, selling and subletting
    your home


    Repaying your discount if you applied
    for the Right to Buy on or after
    18 January 2005
    If you sell:
        within one year, you must repay all of the discount
        in the second year, you must repay four-fifths of the discount
        in the third year, you must repay three-fifths of the discount
        in the fourth year, you must repay two-fifths of the discount
        in the fifth year, you must repay one-fifth of the discount
        after five years, you will not need to repay any discount.

    If you sell within five years of buying your home, the amount of discount




                                                                                       2008
    you must repay will be based on the resale value of your home, regardless
    of the value of any improvements made to it.

9   If before you buy your home or within the discount repayment period you
    agree to transfer your property to someone else in the future, you will have
    to repay the appropriate amount of your discount.
    You do not have to repay your discount if in the first three or five years after
    buying it:
        you sell the property to your husband or wife as part of a divorce
        settlement ruled by a court, or
        you sell as a result of a Compulsory Purchase Order from the Council.


    Landlord’s Right of First Refusal
    Normally, Leaseholders who wish to sell their homes within 10 years of
    purchase are required to first offer to sell their home back to their former
    landlord or to another social landlord at full market value. The market value
    must be agreed between the leaseholder and the landlord. If the value



                                           2
       can’t be agreed, the District Valuer will decide (the cost of the Valuation
       will be paid by the Government). If the former landlord or another social
       landlord does not accept the offer within eight weeks, the leaseholder is
       then free to sell their property on the open market.
       However, it is currently Islington Council’s policy not to buy properties
       sold under the Right to Buy, so you can sell your home on the open market
       straight away.
       You can read more about selling your home and repaying discounts from
       the Government’s ‘Your Right to Buy Your Home’ booklet, available on the
       Department for Communities and Local Government website – see ‘Useful
       contacts’ for more details, or visit one of our offices.


       Selling your home – about Partners’
       sell-on pack
2008




       If you want to sell your leasehold property, we strongly recommend you
       ask us for a sell-on pack. This information pack is also known as an
       ‘assignment pack’ or ‘pre-assignment enquiries’. The sell-on pack contains    9
       essential information about the property that your buyer will want to know,
       including:
          the last three years’ service-charge statements
          money owing for service charges and major works
          buildings insurance
          planned future major works
          current major works that we have not yet billed you for.

       We can give the sell-on pack, which currently costs £150, to the solicitor
       acting on your behalf. Your solicitor should write to us asking for a pack,
       enclosing the fee. Cheques should be made payable to Hyde Housing
       Association Ltd. Once we have received the request and fee, we will post
       the pack to your solicitor, normally within 10 working days.



                                             3
    Buying, selling and subletting
    your home


    We recommend that your solicitor asks for the sell-on pack as early as
    possible to avoid any unnecessary delays.


    Clearing your account
    We will only allow you to complete your sale if you have cleared your
    service-charge account.
    The sell-on pack will show the current balance of your service-charge
    account. This will be all the charges we have billed you for, including
    charges covering the period up to the end of the current financial year, 31
    March.
    You must pay the whole balance on your account, including any estimated
    charges that cover the period from the sale to the end of the financial year,
    31 March. The account must be clear on completion.




                                                                                    2008
    We do not share the charges between the buyer and the seller. If you
    and the buyer want to do this, your solicitors must arrange it between

9   themselves – we cannot get involved.
    Sometimes, solicitors will want to hold back some money if:
       estimated charges are included in the balance on the account, or
       major works have been done but we have not yet billed you for them.

    This is known as retention. Again, the solicitors must make such
    arrangements – we do not get involved.


    After the sale is complete
       We need to update our records once a sale is complete and there is
       a set procedure for this. The new owners’ solicitor must send a Notice
       of Assignment to the Council’s Legal Department, plus the correct fees
       – see ‘Useful contacts’ for more details. This is a condition of the lease
       and notices must be sent within a month of the sale completing.



                                          4
          We can only update our records to show the names of the new owners:
              if the Legal Department has received and acknowledged the notices,
              and
              if all arrears have been cleared.

       We cannot change our records without this, even if, for example, the new
       owners have already notified another department of the Council, such as
       the Council Tax section.


       When you are away from your home
       If you are away from your home for a long period, you should:
          ensure your home is secure
          continue to pay your service charges
2008




          notify the Leasehold Services Team of your absence in case there is an
          emergency.
          you should also read your insurance booklet if you plan any long
          absences as the cover may change.
                                                                                        9
       Subletting

       Your rights and responsibilities
       As a leaseholder, you have the right to sublet your property. However,
       before you sublet, you must register the subletting with us. You will need to
       send the following information to the Leasehold Services Team:
          a certified copy of the tenancy agreement
          your new address
          the names of your tenants and a contact number
          a registration fee, currently £30, payable to Hyde Housing Association Ltd.




                                             5
    Buying, selling and subletting
    your home


       a gas safety certificate (CP12)
       an energy performance certificate

    You must pay a registration fee for each new subletting.
    Even though you are not living in the property, you are still responsible for
    making sure your tenants keep to the conditions of the lease. If your tenants
    break the conditions of the lease, you will be responsible. We cannot get
    involved in any problems you get by subletting your home. We recommend
    that your tenancy agreement with your tenants covers all the obligations in
    your lease.


    Subletting and gas safety
    If you sublet your home, you are responsible as a landlord for complying
    with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. This means




                                                                                    2008
    you are legally responsible for making sure your gas appliances, pipe
    work and flues are safe and well maintained.

9   You must also arrange for an annual gas-safety check by a Gas Safe
    registered gas engineer and ensure your tenant is given a copy of the
    annual gas-safety-check record (Form CP12). If you don’t comply with
    these regulations, you may be prosecuted, resulting in a large fine or even
    imprisonment. You can read more on gas safety by visiting the Health and
    Safety Executive’s website – see ‘Useful contacts’ for details.
    Even if you don’t sublet your home, we strongly advise you to have regular
    annual gas-safety checks done by a CORGI-registered engineer.




                                         6
       Section 10
        Buying the freehold or
        extending your lease
        Only Islington Council can deal with selling you the freehold of your
        building and extending your lease, but this section gives a summary of the
        main points and some general advice.


        Buying the freehold of your building
        The freehold of a property is the right to live in it for ever. A group of
        leaseholders may have the right to buy the freehold of their building. This
2008




        is known as enfranchisement. They may want to do this to give them more
        control over the way their building is managed and maintained.
        To buy the freehold of your building, the building must qualify. To qualify,
        there must be two or more flats in the building, and at least two-thirds of all
        the flats in the building must be owned by ‘qualifying tenants’. A qualifying
        tenant is someone who owns a long lease (a lease of 10 years or more).
        A qualifying tenant means that you own a long lease. If your lease
        was originally granted under the ‘Right to Buy’ legislation, you will be a
                                                                                          10
        qualifying tenant. It doesn’t matter if you were the original buyer or not.


        Examples
          If there are only two flats in the building, both must be owned by
          qualifying tenants.
           If there are four flats in the building, at least three must be owned by
           qualifying tenants.

        You cannot be a qualifying tenant if you own more than two of the flats in
        the building or if you have sublet your flat on a long lease (over 21 years).



                                              1
     Buying the freehold or extending
     your lease


     Even if your building doesn’t qualify for you to buy the freehold, you can
     still apply to extend your own lease.
     Buying the freehold of a building is a complicated process, so we
     recommend you talk to the other residents in your building and get
     independent advice before you decide to go ahead.


     The process of buying the freehold
     Firstly, find out whether your building qualifies. To do this, simply write to us
     and we can let you know. You can do this before talking to or involving the
     other residents in the building.
     If your building qualifies and all the residents agree to buy the freehold, the
     next step is to serve a legal notice called an Initial Notice on the Council as
     your landlord. This starts the formal process.




                                                                                         2008
     Once you have given the Council the notice, you will be liable for all
     your costs and the Council’s costs, even if you do not end up buying the
     freehold.
     For the Initial Notice to be legally valid, it must include:
        details of the property you want to buy, including a plan drawing
10      a statement that the building qualifies
        the names and addresses of all the qualifying tenants
        details of the leases
        the name and address of the buyer (eg a company formed by the
        qualifying tenants)
        the proposed price.

     We recommend you get professional legal and valuation advice well
     before serving the Initial Notice. A solicitor would normally prepare the
     Notice for you and a valuer would help you assess and decide your
     proposed purchase price.



                                             2
       All the leaseholders who are taking part will have to pay any outstanding
       service charges before the sale can be completed.
       If your building is scheduled for refurbishment work, this will be put on hold
       until we know the outcome of the proposed purchase of the freehold. If
       the sale goes ahead, Partners will not do any refurbishment work as it will
       become the new freeholders’ responsibility.


       Extending your lease

       Why extend your lease?
       Most leases runs for 125 years from the date the first flat in the building
       was sold. This means there is likely to be at least 100 years left to run
       on your lease. At the end of the lease term, your flat will return to the
2008




       ownership of the landlord, Islington Council.
       As the number of years left on the lease decreases, this may eventually
       affect its value, but this only happens when there are very few years left.
       Although we can give you general advice about extending your lease,
       we cannot tell you how much you may have to pay for it. To find out, you
       should get a valuation done.
                                                                                        10
       Who can apply to extend their lease?
       Leaseholders who have owned their flat for at least two years. You then
       have the right to buy a new lease for a term of 90 years, on top of the
       number of years left on your existing lease.


       Conditions of the extended lease
       Your extended lease will have the same conditions as your old one, except
       you will have to pay a ‘peppercorn’ rent, which is a very small amount to
       show that in law your home is leasehold, not freehold. It can be as little as
       £1.



                                             3
     Buying the freehold or extending
     your lease


     Is it worth extending your lease?
     You will have to pay the Council for extending your lease, so you will
     need to consider whether it is going to be worthwhile. You must suggest to
     the Council the price you think you should pay (after getting a valuation).
     You will have to pay the Council’s costs as well as your own legal and
     valuation costs.


     The process of extending your lease
     If you decide to apply to extend your lease, you will need to serve the
     Council with a Formal Notice. This has to include certain information,
     including what you think you should pay for the lease extension.
     You will need to pay a solicitor to draw up the Notice, and once it has
     been served you will be liable for the Council’s costs.




                                                                                   2008
     You can get more information on buying the freehold and extending your
     lease from the Leasehold Advisory Service website – see ‘Useful contacts’.




10




                                          4
       Section 11
        Buying extra land and
        loft spaces
        On behalf of the Council, we will consider all requests to buy extra land
        or other unused areas that are not shared or owned by anyone else. The
        Council has to sell the land or space to you at its current market value.
        For example, if you are interested in doing a loft conversion and the loft
        space doesn’t belong to you, you will need to buy that space. We class this
        as buying extra land.
        If you are thinking about a loft conversion, you will need to get our written
        permission to do the work, so we suggest you do this first, before going
2008




        ahead with buying the land (see ‘Alterations and improvements to your
        home’).


        Areas you cannot buy
        There are some areas of land we usually cannot sell. These include:
           garages in a separate block
           loft spaces with shared water tanks or other communal services
           roof terraces situated above another home.                                   11
        The Council also does not allow leaseholders to buy communal areas such
        as basement well areas, internal stairs and communal or tenanted gardens.




                                              1
     Buying extra land and loft spaces



     The process of buying extra land

     Applying to buy
     Firstly, write to us to apply to buy the extra land. We will then do some
     initial checks and consider the following:
        Would the area be self-contained or easily identifiable as belonging to
        you?
        Would the sale interfere with our ability to maintain, renew or service
        any part of the building, including shared and outside areas?
        Would the sale cause disadvantage to other people living in the
        building or neighbouring buildings?
        Are there any plans to refurbish, renew or develop the area that will
        prevent the area being sold?




                                                                                       2008
     In some cases, our Asset Manager may need to visit you to survey and
     inspect the area you wish to buy. If we do accept your request, we will
     write to let you know. If you are still happy for the purchase to proceed, we
     will write to you let you know what to do next. If we turn down your request
     to buy the land, we will explain why in full.


     Valuing the land
     To find out how much the land is worth, it will have to be valued. Once
11   our Leasehold Team has received your valuation fee we will send your
     application to the Council’s appointed valuers, who will contact you to
     arrange a day to do the valuation.
     The valuer will write to you to let you know the valuation price, the
     associated legal costs, and any other requirements of the sale. If you
     decide to go ahead, you should let the valuer know. The valuer will then
     instruct Islington’s Legal Department to finalise the formal conditions of sale
     with you and your solicitor.




                                           2
       Owning the land – your Supplemental Lease
       When you buy the land, the Council’s Legal Department will need to
       prepare a new lease for it, called a Supplemental Lease. The Supplemental
       Lease sits alongside your existing lease and shows the extra area you have
       bought. Our website contains a list of all fees.


       Other fees
       You will have to pay your solicitor’s fees and the Land Registry fees,
       although the Council’s Legal Department will on request register your
       Supplementary Lease for you.
2008




                                                                                    11




                                            3
     Buying extra land and loft spaces




                                         2008



11




                      4
       Section 12
        Buildings insurance

        What buildings insurance covers
        Building Insurance covers the communal parts of the building, including
        the structure and exterior and any services and installations in the building.
        Fixtures and fittings in your property are also covered. Fixtures and fittings
        are anything you would not be able to take with you when you move.
        Examples are:
           floorboards
           bathroom and kitchen fittings
2008




           fitted wardrobes
           decorations
           doors
           plaster on the walls and ceilings in your flat.

        Buildings insurance also covers accidental damage caused by leaseholders
        or tenants in your building ie letting a bath/shower overflow.
        The policy also covers damage caused by unforeseen events, for example:
           fire
           lightning
           explosion
           flood
                                                                                         12
           burst pipes or tanks
           subsidence
           storm
           theft or malicious damage (or both).


                                              1
     Buildings insurance



     Please read your insurance booklet which gives you more detailed
     information about your cover. You can request a copy from your leasehold
     officer
     The policy does not cover general wear and tear, mechanical or electrical
     breakdown, day-to-day maintenance or planned refurbishment works,
     which are all treated as normal repairs.


     For properties that were transferred in
     May 2003 (Round 1)
     For our round 1 leasehold properties, Partners arrange the building
     insurance cover by way of a blanket policy which protects all leasehold
     properties, including cover for full rebuilding costs. Under the terms of your
     lease, we are responsible for arranging buildings insurance cover, so you




                                                                                      2008
     cannot arrange your own independent cover. We have buildings insurance
     cover with UK Underwriting Ltd (Acumus).


     What our buildings insurance covers
     Under our insurance policy, all homes we manage have a ‘total insured
     value’, which meets the full cost of rebuilding the properties we manage.
     We adjust our buildings insurance every year to make sure it keeps pace
     with rebuilding costs.


     How to make a claim
       Contact Acumus quoting our insurance policy number 01302E – see
       ‘Useful contacts’. A claim form will be sent to you.
12      Contact Acumus within 30 days of becoming aware of any damage to
        your fixtures and fittings.
        Do not start any repair work until you have received written permission
        from the insurers or us.
        The insurers usually need you to send them two written estimates for the
        work.


                                           2
       For properties that were transferred in
       October 2006 (Round 2)
       For Round-2 leasehold properties, the Council is responsible for arranging
       building insurance cover. The Council’s insurer is Ocaso SA UK Branch.


       What the Council’s buildings insurance cover
       The Council’s insurance will cover full rebuilding costs.


       How to make a claim
         Contact Davies Managed Systems, quoting the Council’s insurance
         policy number 124848 – see ‘Useful Contacts’. A claim form will be
         sent to you.
2008




          Contact Davies within 30 days of becoming aware of any damage to
          your fixtures and fittings
          Do not start any repair work until you have received written permission
          from the insurers or us.
          The insurers usually need you to send them two written estimates for the
          work.


       Insuring your belongings – contents
       insurance
       The buildings insurance policies do not cover damage to the contents of
       your home, whatever the cause of the damage. You will need to insure
       your belonging and your decorations. Please also inform your insurers that
       you will need cover for your own front entrance door, which, under the
                                                                                     12
       terms of your lease, you are responsible for repairing or renewing. The
       buildings insurance policies cover communal doors to your building.




                                             3
     Buildings insurance



     Insurance if you have just bought under the
     Right to Buy
     If you have just bought your home under the right-to-buy scheme, you will
     be automatically insured from the date the sale completed until the end of
     the current financial year. The service charge that the Council collected
     from you when you bought your home will cover this cost.


     Insurance if you bought on the open market
     If you bought your home on the open market, the sellers (vendors) will have
     already paid the insurance premium for the current year, so you will not get
     a bill for the insurance premium until the next financial year.




                                                                                    2008




12




                                          4
       Section 13
        Getting involved
        We think our residents are the best people to tell us how we’re doing
        and to help us improve our services. There are several ways you can get
        involved. You can:
           join the Residents Forum
           sign up to the Partners Involvement Register
           complete satisfaction surveys for repairs and refurbishment work
           get involved in focus group meetings on subjects that interest you
           contribute to the residents’ newsletter ‘Partners Gazette’
           take part in telephone surveys about our service
2008




           become a mystery shopper
           or just contact us to give us your views, ideas and suggestions.

        We can provide help if you want to get involved, for example transport to
        and from meetings, or help towards childcare costs.
        For more information please contact Tom Irvine, Customer First Manager,
        on 0800 587 3595.


        The Residents Forum
        The Forum is made up of up to 20 tenants and up to 10 leaseholder
        representatives, who meet every two months. Representatives from various
        Tenant and Resident Associations for Partners’ properties are also on
        the Forum. Residents are invited to nominate themselves (put themselves
        forward) for election every two years. If there are more nominations than
        there are spaces on the Forum, there will be an election.                   13
                                                                                    14
                                             1
                                                                                    15
     Getting involved



     What does the Residents Forum do?
     Members of the Residents Forum represent the interests of other PFI tenants
     and leaseholders by:
        expressing residents’ views on all aspects of our service, particularly the
        refurbishment programme, day-to-day repairs and housing management
        monitoring overall resident satisfaction and working with us to
        continually improve the service we provide
        helping us communicate effectively with residents by advising us what
        to put into our newsletter, other literature, and on our website
        meeting regularly to discuss any problems our residents have
        representing our residents on Islington Council and Homes For Islington
        consultation exercises.




                                                                                      2008
     Minutes of the Residents Forum meetings are posted on our website.


     Contacting members of the Residents Forum
     If you have any issues you would like to be raised at the next meeting, you
     can contact the Residents Forum members.
     Write to:
     Partners Residents Forum
     4–6 Colebrooke Place
     London
     N1 8HZ
     Email:
     forum@partnersislington.net

13   You can also leave a message on the Forum answerphone by calling
     020 7288 8317. Please do not use this number to report Repairs – use the
     Partners freephone number 0800 587 3595.



                                          2
       Your comments will be raised and discussed at the Residents Forum
       meetings and fed back to our teams to help improve the service we
       provide.


       Partners Involvement Register
       If you wish to share your views with us or are interested in a particular
       aspect of our service but don’t want to commit to regular meetings, you can
       join our Residents Involvement Register.
       This is a list of residents who have said they want to get involved, plus the
       areas they would like to be involved with.


       Why join the register?
2008




       It’s important for us to get your views, comments and suggestions so that
       we can improve our service, and we want to make this as easy as possible
       for you.
       For example, you may want us to consult you about changes we make to
       our services that will affect only leaseholders. Or you may want to email
       your comments and ideas to us, or attend a daytime focus group, rather
       than attend an evening meeting.
       However you want to get involved, we aim to make it possible.


       Who can join the register?
       The register is open to all Partners tenants, leaseholders, as well as family
       members and lodgers.


       How to join the register                                                        13
       To join the register, simply complete a registration form letting us know
       what interests you and how you want to get involved.
                                                                                       14
                                             3
                                                                                       15
     Getting involved



     Forms are available from our reception areas or you can ask us to send
     you one through the post. Or you can call us and we can register you over
     the phone.
     For more information, please contact Tom Irvine, Customer Service
     Manager, on 0800 587 3595 or email enquiries@partnersisilington.net.




                                                                                 2008




13


                                        4
       Section 14
        Getting more advice

        About this handbook
        If you want more advice on any of the subjects in this handbook, contact
        Partners or visit our website – see ‘How to contact us’.


        About Islington Council
        There is more information about Islington Council and all the services they
        provide, together with links to outside organisations and advice agencies
        on their website – see ‘Useful contacts’.
2008




        Independent advice
        For independent advice, contact the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE),
        an independent agency funded by the Government – see ‘Useful contacts.


        Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT)
        The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal is an independent organisation appointed
        to make decisions about residential leasehold property. The Tribunal can
        sort out problems or disputes about:
           whether service charges and major-work costs are reasonable
           whether services have been provided or work has been done to a
           reasonable standard.

        Partners, on behalf of your landlord, and leaseholders, or their
        representative organisations can apply to the Tribunal. LVT hearings are
        less formal and quicker than court proceedings. The Tribunal asks both
        sides to put forward their case and present evidence to support it. You do    14
                                             1
     Getting more advice



     not need a solicitor or barrister to represent you, but you may need to get
     professional, technical or legal advice or support beforehand.
     Sometime, the Tribunal will hold a review of the case before the hearing. It
     can also instruct both sides to present evidence and statements and can set
     deadlines for providing these. If the Tribunal instructions are not followed,
     this can harm either party’s case. If you have applied to the Tribunal and
     don’t follow its instructions, your application could be dismissed.
     You cannot apply to the Tribunal about something that has already
     been determined (decided) by a court or referred to or determined by
     arbitration.
     We recommend you get independent advice before applying to the
     Tribunal. See ‘Useful contacts’.




                                                                                      2008
     Government information leaflets
     The government department responsible for housing and leasehold matters
     is the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It
     produces a lot of useful information for leaseholders, including leaflets that
     you can get by downloading them from its website or by writing to the
     DCLG – see ‘Useful contacts’.
     Leaflets include:
     ‘Leasehold flats – your right to buy the freehold or extend your lease’
     ‘Long leaseholders – your rights and responsibilities’
     ‘Applying to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal’


     Islington Leasehold Association
     The Islington Leaseholders Association (ILA) consults and represents
     leaseholders of Islington Council. For more information visit their website
     at www.ila.org.uk or email info@ila.org.uk. If you wish to join the ILA, the
     yearly membership fee is £20.
14
                                           2
       Section 15
        Useful contacts
         Acumus                               Health and Safety
                                              Executive
        Phone: 0845 218 0327
                                             www.hse.gov.uk/gas
         Bulk Rubbish Removal
                                              Homes for Islington
        Phone: 020 7527 2000.
                                             www.homesforislington.org.uk
         Davies Managed Systems
                                              Islington Council
        Phone: 0870 420 1168 (their
2008




        lines are open 24 hours a day)       Planning Department
                                             PO Box 3333
                                             222 Upper Street
         Department for
                                             London
         Communities and Local
                                             N1 1YA
         Government
                                             Phone: 020 7527 2000
        Free Literature                      Fax: 020 7527 2731
        PO Box 236                           Email: planning@islington.gov.uk
        Wetherby
        LS23 7NB                             Building Control
                                             The District Surveyor
        Phone: 0870 1226236                  Development House
        Fax: 0870 1226237                    8a Barnsbury Park
        Email:odpm@twoten.press.net          London
        Web: www.communities.gov.uk          N1 1QQ
                                             Phone: 020 7527 5999
                                             Fax: 020 7527 5998
                                             Email:
                                             building.control@islington.gov.uk



                                         1
                                                                                 15
     Useful contacts



                                            Land Registry

                                           The Land Registry (Harrow Office)
                                           Lyon House
                                           Lyon Road
                                           Harrow
                                           HA1 2EU

                                           For general information, visit the
                                           Land Registry website at
                                           www.landregistry.gov.uk.


                                            Leasehold Advisory Service

                                           LEASE




                                                                                2008
                                           31 Worship Street
                                           London
                                           EC2A 2DX

     Legal Department                      Phone: 020 7374 5380
     The Town Hall                         Fax: 020 7374 5373
     Upper Street                          Email: info@lease-advice.co.uk
     London                                Website: www.lease-advice.org.uk
     N1 2UD
     Phone: 020 7527
     3313/3084/3197/3460 or
     Fax: 020 7527 3295

     Environmental Health
     Phone: 020 7527 3258
     (office hours)
     Phone: 020 7527 3229
     (night hours: 8pm–2am Sunday to
     Thursday, 10pm–4am Friday and
     Saturday)


                                       2
15
            Local Government
            Ombudsman

           10th Floor
           Millbank Tower
           Millbank
           London
           SW1P 4QP

           Advice line: 0845 602 1983
           Website: www.lgo.org.uk


            Leasehold Valuation
            Tribunal
2008




           10 Alfred Place
           London
           WC1E 7LR

           Phone: 020 7446 7700
           Email: london.rap@communities.
           gsi.gov.uk
           Website: www.rpts.gov.uk




       3
                                            15
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