Monthly Archives: December 2018

Quality of works and should they be paid for without being checked?

Background

Works which are undertaken and charged back via service charges might need to be reviewed more thoroughly by residents if the following example is anything to go. Kimpton House had been having problems with pigeons with one of the entrances. The Kimpton House Residents Association (KHRA) sought to have this corrected and this is what happened.

 A recent example

The following works was proposed for a cost of £796.95 with the red area being where a grill was to be placed to prevent the pigeons from resting in the area.

What happened?

After much back and forth between the Council and the KHRA the following works were following completed and you might be able to see that the grill is not what was agreed.

After much back and forth between the parties a revised quote of £398.00 + VAT (£477.60) was suggested.

Questions raised from the experience.

There may well be more than the following to consider, that this is just the starter;

#1 – Should residents have to monitor the works which the Council has lodged?

#2 – Are similar situations happening time AND not being spotted?

Caveats

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 Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Do you ever look at the itemisation of your service charges?

Background

When it comes to service charges, there is a ‘summary of costs’ which is provided. This is the sum of various items for both block and estate charges. An example if below;

Do you know that, as a leaseholder, one can ask for more detail?

Referring to the ‘Block Costs’ in the example above you can see that the ‘Repairs’ charge was £8,471.79. How this charge was itemised is as follows;

Is enough information provided?

There seems to a fair few gaps in the description fields. Given these ‘repairs’ are being paid for then one might think there needs to be more explanation as to what is being paid for?

It’s not clear whether any ‘repairs’ are repeats. In the ‘communal drainage’ charges the following is stated – “TO UNBLOCK A FOUL OR RAIN WATER DRAIN US ING ELECTRIC-MECHANICAL MACHINE FROM NEAR EST ACCESS POINT TO NEXT INSPECTION CHAMBER’. It’s mentioned four times so has the same item been repaired four times?

‘Repairs’ charge

From the itemisation of the ‘Repairs’ service charge you can see that there is more information which might be of interest. Summing up the various ‘Repairs’ section it looks like this;

What’s this ‘Plus Minor Repairs Commission Fee’?

Did the notice that for the ‘Minor Repairs Commission Fee’ the charge was £1,708.85 which is 20% of the ‘Repairs’ charge(!).

Within the Council’s ‘Service Charges explained’ 2018 booklet this is described as follows;

“Minor works commissioning fee

A fee is added to all repairs and maintenance costs and it is included in the total amounts shown for estate, block and lift repairs. This covers technical, supervisory and administrative costs associated with repairs and maintenance works’.

Can’t see that this description states that this is 20% or even how this is calculated. Can you?

To read the booklet – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/file/2781/your_service_charges_explained

How can you obtain an itemisation of the service charges?

As your Estate Manager.

Caveats

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Should this type of charging be communicated to leaseholders?

Background

A leaseholder noticed that the 2015/16 service charge had a large difference between the estimated and actual costs and from this a set of communications with the Council followed.

What created the query?

The actual and estimated service charges were compared and the following highlights how the difference, in percentage terms, was quite large.

What was the Council’s response?

When queried with the Council the following feedback was received;

“There has been a relatively high increase in this years service charges for lighting. This is due to the costs incurred by the Council from the electricity company. You may have noticed that service charges for the most recent years previous to 2015/16 have been somewhat low. This is due to the electricity company under billing the Council. This year however, the electricity company have risen the cost to include a back payment for the years that they did not charge an increase on. You will note from your Summary of Costs that the estimate for lighting for the period of 2016/17 is lower then this years, as it is expected the Council will not be billed such a high amount”.

The follow up ask of the Council?

In order to progress this further the leaseholder has requested the following information under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request;

“1.Please provide the correspondence from the electricity company which highlighted the under billing of electricity.

2.Please provide all correspondence that took place between the electricity company and the Council regarding this under billing”.

This was requested on 17 August 2018 and surprisingly the Council has yet to provide this information. When there has been an issue with a FOI request one can ask the Council for an Internal Review, and this has been done. It is hoped that this information is received soon.

Want to see the answers to the questions above?

If you would like to have a copy of the Council’s response (when the query is actually answered) you can email Foiw@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk and ask for the information provided to Freedom of Information request reference 2018/17505.

Do you think the Council should have communicated this?

By not communicating this situation with the electricity charges, does this mean that other service charge amendments occur that leaseholders are not aware of?

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Latest Tribunal documents (21 December 2018)

Background

The latest documents regarding the potential retro fitting of water sprinklers can now be located on the Council’s website.

Letter to Leaseholders

This is located at – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/file/13869/letter_to_leaseholders .

The Council’s statement of case

This is located at – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/file/13870/statement_of_case_-_wandsworth_sprinklers

For other documents on the proposal to retro fit water sprinklers

For various other First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT) and Council documentation they are available at – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/download/1921/first_tier_property_tribunal_-_proposal_to_fit_sprinklers

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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 Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Should the Council be more proactive in sharing the Tribunal’s water sprinkler directions?

Background

There are changes to actions and dates which have been issued by the First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT). These can be accessed at – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/tribunal-directions-regarding-water-sprinklers-5-december-2018/

For various other Tribunal documentation they are available at – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/download/1921/first_tier_property_tribunal_-_proposal_to_fit_sprinklers

Have you seen these put up in your block?

At least one block is a “No” – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/tribunal-directions-for-water-sprinklers-have-they-been-put-up-in-your-block/

Wandsworth @6

The same day as the Tribunal directions came out, this being the 5th December 2018, the Council issued the below email as part of its regular Wandsworth@6 communications. The link to the article is – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/article/14840/sprinkler_activation_saves_young_mum_and_her_son_from_chip_pan_fire?utm_source=Wandsworth%406&utm_campaign=a790a54c57-Wandsworth%406&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fbd64a91fa-a790a54c57-398470769

Brightside Online

The weekly communications, Brightside Online, had the same article featured in its December 7th distribution – https://wandsworthmailings.org.uk/XWH-60JVT-46R3LJLMB6/cr.aspx

Should the Council email out the Tribunal directions as well?

For your thoughts leave a comment on the blog.

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Tribunal directions for water sprinklers – have they been put up in your block?

Background

The latest Tribunal directions from the First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT) regarding retro fitting water sprinklers have been issued – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/tribunal-directions-regarding-water-sprinklers-5-december-2018/ .

In the past, such Tribunal notices have been put up in the 99, or 100, blocks which have been impacted though this time that does not seem to be the case?

The below is one such example.

The following photo is from 8th September 2018.

The following photo is from 15th September.

The following photo is from 14th December and yet there the Tribunal directions have not, this time, been put up by the Council?

Are they up in your block?

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Tribunal directions regarding water sprinklers (5 December 2018)

Background

There are changes to actions and dates which have been issued by the First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT). These can be accessed on the Council’s website at – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/file/13795/supplemental_directions_5_december_2018

For various other Tribunal documentation they are available at – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/downloads/download/1921/first_tier_property_tribunal_-_proposal_to_fit_sprinklers

Tribunal directions dated 5th December 2018

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Major works – do you know how much you pay?

Background

When major works are required do you ever wonder how much has actually been paid for it? It can be a challenge as the following Alton Estate example highlights.

Stage 1 – Notice of Intention

The pre-tender consultation letter dated 23rd January 2015 states that this major work will cost an estimated £920.37.

Stage 2 – Post-tender costs

The post-tender notice dated 16th June 2015 states that the estimated cost is now £783.82. As a leaseholder one might think that this is great news.

Stage 3 – The service charge invoice

The invoice date of 01/10/2016 states that the service charge is £880.00 which is now almost £100 more than the Stage 2 indication of £783.82?

Stage 4 – Credit Note

On the 15th August 2018 a Credit Note for this major work issued for £60.63. For this leaseholder this means that the Council appears to have had £60.63 of the leaseholder’s money for almost two years since the service charge payment in October 2016?

Final statement of total cost?

Is it unreasonable for the leaseholder to expect a statement, or something similar, which states the final and total cost of the major works?

On 23rd October 2018 the following question was asked of the Council;

“3. No final cost is provided for the works (unless asked)?

The following timeline of documents and costs might assist;

  • 23/1/15 – letter dated from the Council regarding first estimated cost of £920.37
  • 19/6/15 – letter from the Council with revised estimated cost of £783.82
  • 01/10/16 – invoice stating £880.00 (with no explanation of how this differs with the price of £783.82)
  • 15/08/18 – invoice stating the credit note of £60.63 (making the overall total of £723.19 and these figures differ with the amount in the below email)”.

The reply from the Council on 9th November was:

“It is not practical to send this information to all leaseholders, bearing in mind the volume of leaseholders and amount of schemes being undertaken at each moment of time, therefore this information is available at request. Confirmation of the final costs comes in the form of the spreadsheet  sent  to you in the last correspondence”.

So, leaseholders have to request a final total from the Council?

Can this process be done differently?

If readers have any ideas then please leave a comment on the blog.

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

Receive articles into your inbox when uploaded on the blog

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

To receive blog articles as they are uploaded please ‘follow’ the blog.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Service charge hikes – can the process be improved?

Background

Many leaseholders have expressed a lack of faith in the Council’s £3,000 to £4,000 estimate for the retro-fitting of water sprinklers. Some leaseholders have experienced first hand the inaccurate costings of the Council and how this has come back to hit their pockets. Various examples have been heard though one example is to be provided.

Stage 1 – Notice of Intention

Leaseholders would be familiar with these letters which highlights the potential costs of the works to be undertaken. The following example is one recent major works which took place on the Alton Estate and it highlights the starting estimated in March 2014 of £2,586.92. Notice that there was a ‘consultation  process’ in April from 4:30pm to 7pm.

Stage 2 – Post-tender costs

Imagine that as a leaseholder you have received the letter in March and then attended the ‘consultation’ in April and then receive this post-tender letter in October 2014 which highlights the revised cost of £4,864.90. Bear in mind that only seven months later the increase is almost 100%.

‘Consultation’ times

For many, to be able to attend between 4:30pm and 7pm is going to be a challenge due to work commitments. Are these times the best times to have these ‘consultations’?

Can this process be done differently?

If readers have any ideas then please leave a comment on the blog.

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Feedback to Councillor Gilbert’s update of 27 November 2018

Background

The below is an example of one email seen which provided feedback to Councillor Claire Gilbert’s update of 27 November 2018 – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/councillor-gilbert-water-sprinkler-update-27-november-2018/

 Email

“To: claire gilbert; Paul White; Maurice Mcleod; Angela Ireland;

Malcolm Grimston

Sent: ‎Thursday‎, ‎November‎ ‎29‎, ‎2018‎ ‎02‎:‎57‎:‎36‎ ‎PM‎ ‎GMT

Subject: Sprinkler Update + Communications

Dear all,

Unfortunately I am away for work and not able to refer to my materials on the matter though please find below thoughts regarding the ‘communication’ from the Council. It has been typed in a hurry and it is hoped makes sense.

#1 – Use of electronic media – Wandsworth@6, Brightside

In previous correspondence with the Council I have suggested the use of the daily Wandsworth@6 daily email from the Council which provides various snippets of information. Additionally, I suggested that it could use the weekly email Brightside to distribute this message and it has fallen largely on deaf ears. However, from memory, I am sure that they have been used to highlight various sprinkler related information of a non-Tribunal specific message. 

#2 – Emails to Residents Associations

Interestingly, the only one email from the Council regarding the Tribunal has been emailed to RAs, from memory, at least in the case of Kimpton House RA and it was at the last date of the deadline. This practice has not continued and in fact this RA sent an email last Saturday to members just in case the latest notice had not been received. 

#3 – Non-response to late delivery of the latest Tribunal notice

The latest Tribunal notice was received by us two days after the deadline. This was highlighted to the Tribunal along with the Council’s lawyer and to date there has not been an acknowledgement to this nor the questions I have raised.

#4 – Those without internet access – access of documents online (sections 3 to 5 of the latest Tribunal letter)

There are many residents on the Alton Estate that do have internet access. How are they meant to engage with other leaseholders who are trying to aggregate with other leaseholders to tackle this? The onus to comply with the Tribunal’s ask for leaseholders to work together is hampered by this as this is an administrative task that other leaseholders unfortunately don’t have the time to co-ordinate with due to the additional hands on approach this requires, e.g. door knocking, distribution of letters, phone calls.

#5 – With all of the documents to be placed online as highlighted in the Council sections 3 to 5, how is this demographic (those without internet access) going to access this information? Will the information be placed in easily accessible areas, such as libraries?

#6 – Section 4(b) – really going to publish this information?

As far as I understand it, and this could be incorrect, this section is stating that the Council will be uploading to its website the details of all impacted leaseholders, or at least the properties which are impacted. If that is the case, the Council may try to prevent this due to data protection grounds. If placed online this provides a great opportunity for leaseholders to try and reach out to other leaseholders.

#8 – Joint leaseholders – receive their own letters?

A small detail though shouldn’t each leaseholder receive their own copies of the notices from the Council? We currently receive one for both of us and I think there should be two copies provided, one for each.

#9 – Council database

The Council knows who the impacted leaseholders are, they could request permission to be allowed to email leaseholders directly with the notices. This could easily be addressed within one of the covering letters that are issued along with the Tribunal notices. Unfortunately this will not capture those leaseholders without internet access.

#10 – Delayed notice?

It is a common theme that Tribunal notices are posted out with the arrival time in one’s letterbox very near, if not after, the deadlines indicated by the Tribunal. Such delays only compound the difficulties for leaseholders in working together as each time a Tribunal notice is issued this could impact the approach of leaseholders towards trying to work together.

#11 – Frequently Asked Questions

The Kimpton House RA has suggested to Mr Stewart in an email to have a section on the Council’s website whereby questions can be asked by residents, this could be to seek clarity regarding the process, and the Council could answer them. This would be better than the piecemeal approach currently undertaken whereby both individuals and groups write to the Tribunal and/or the Council for clarity or answers”.

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

Receive articles into your inbox when uploaded on the blog

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

To receive blog articles as they are uploaded please ‘follow’ the blog.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate