Tag Archives: CAB

EU citizens – seen the letter from the Council?

The following letter has recently been received by some EU citizens which has come from the Council. It’s hoped you find it of use.

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.

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

Feel like leaving a comment?

Please feel free to leave a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section to let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have.

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

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Water sprinklers – Questions and (attempted) Answers

Introduction

Before we get into the questions and answers (Q&As) is should be noted that the answers are provided on best efforts basis and the reader should make their own efforts to confirm the answers.

The following relates to some of the questions which have been asked by various individuals.

  1. How much is this going to cost?

According to the Council, the initial cost is between £3,000 and £4,000 – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/questions-to-the-council-regarding-the-3000-to-4000-water-sprinkler-charge/

The London Assembly has some thoughts on cost variation – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/gla-document-on-retrofitting-water-sprinklers-march-2018/

2. What about ongoing maintenance cost?

There seems to have no mention of this (though happy to be corrected) yet the London Assembly estimates annual service charge impacts to be between £75 and £150 per annum – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/gla-document-on-retrofitting-water-sprinklers-march-2018/

3. Fire Risk Assessments – what does this say about water sprinklers?

Well, in many of the 2016 FRAs in section 2.6.8 it states that water sprinklers are not required – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/fire-risk-assessments-section-2-6-8/

4. I’m a leaseholder and don’t live in one of the 99 blocks impacted, should I be concerned?

That’s your choice, though something which you may wish to bear in mind is that many buildings, tall and not, share the same text in their lease – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/only-leaseholders-in-10-storeys-impacted-by-water-sprinklers/

5. I’m not sure where my lease is, how can I get another copy of it?

If you’re stuck the Council can provide another copy of it though there is a fee – http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200373/i_am_a_leaseholder/106/council_leaseholders/3

6. The Council has commented on a mortgage lender not lending on tall buildings without water sprinklers?

That’s true though the lender has a low market share so should this be a consideration? – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/mortgage-lenders-not-lending-on-tall-buildings-without-water-sprinklers/

6. Will this impact future major works schedules?

Such impacts should perhaps be considered due to the financial implications to leaseholders and the Council’s overall budgeting. Examples are whereby some leaseholders have already had one or more recent major works costs. One such example is outlined – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/alton-leaseholders-meeting-some-notes-6th-november-2017/

7. Has any legal advice been sought for challenging this?

Yes there has and there is some work ongoing in seeking a lawyer for additional support, though there are various strands currently looking into this. Some of the advice offered is below;

LEASE – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/what-does-the-citizens-advice-bureau-suggest-regarding-water-sprinklers/

Citizens Advice Bureau – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/feedback-from-lease-regarding-retro-fitting-water-sprinklers/

8. I’d like to try and speak with other leaseholders in my building though not sure which flats are leasehold?

Yes, this can be tricky, though some ideas are provided at – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/how-to-locate-leaseholders-in-your-block/

Also, it has been highlighted how you can find out the number of leaseholders (resident and non-resident) and council tenants per block at – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/questions-to-wandsworth-borough-council-about-water-sprinklers/

9. I didn’t see either of the show flats, are there photos I can see?

We’ve tried our best and the following has photos of both;

Flat #1 – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/view-sprinkler-show-flat-4-may-2018/

Flat #2 on Alton Estate – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/alton-estate-water-sprinkler-show-flat/

10. Didn’t the Council suggest that a ‘small number of leaseholders’ have raised concerns?

That has been mentioned in Question 4 of the Council’s Questions and Answers session on 6th December 2017 – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/council-questions-and-answers-about-water-sprinklers-6-december-2017/

Not sure this claim to be a ‘small number’ holds based on the First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT) recent ask for a larger venue for the holding of the Tribunal – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/breaking-news-about-sprinklers-from-the-tribunal/

11. Is there any impact on contents insurance?

Anecdotally, we have heard of one leaseholder calling their contents provider to ask the question and apparently this made no difference to the contents insurance policy and cost. However, this would (it is guessed) vary for each situation and it might be an idea if you speak with your contents provider to ask about any potential impacts.

12. What about buildings insurance impacts?

Council seems to think it will result in reduction to service charges though it may not make much difference to the service charge bottom line – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/retro-fitting-water-sprinklers-impact-on-building-insurance/

13. Some people have raised concerns about asbestos becoming a problem?

At best, we can only share what we have come across – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/retro-fitting-water-sprinklers-and-asbestos-concerns-raised/

14. How many days off work do I need to have a think about for installation, should I take time off work?

No information, that we know of, has been made available on this by the Council, however, one might consider Croydon’s experience as a proxy, refer to questions (8, 14 and 19) – https://roeregeneration.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/faqs-about-water-sprinklers-by-croydon-council/

15. Has this situation been covered in the media?

On a few occasions it has, more recently, the following examples;

Sprinkler madness and Council incompetence (putneysw15)

http://www.putneysw15.com/default.asp?section=community&link=http://appasp.putneysw15.com/server/app/forum/ShowMessage.asp?ID=1270495

Residents Planning Protest Over Sprinkler Charges (putneysw15)

http://www.putneysw15.com/default.asp?section=info&link=http://neighbournet.com/server/common/consprinklersprotest001.htm

Even after Grenfell, tower block residents are being ignored (The Guardian)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/31/grenfell-tower-block-tenants-tragedy?CMP=share_btn_fb#comment-119948786

Wandsworth residents concerned over council plans to retrofit sprinklers in tower blocks (Wandsworth Guardian)

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/16685359.wandsworth-residents-concerned-over-council-plans-to-retrofit-sprinklers-in-tower-blocks/

16. Anything else about water sprinklers?

Type ‘water sprinklers’ in the search section to see the many articles about this topic.

What do you think?

Please leave a comment on the blog with your thoughts.

 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

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

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.

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. Please note that if an email is sent any response might be part of a generic group email.

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

What does the Citizens Advice Bureau suggest regarding water sprinklers?

Introduction

Some concerned leaseholders sought advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) regarding retro fitting water sprinklers. It seems that the advice might not too far removed from the advice given by LEASE in the article ‘Feedback from LEASE regarding retro fitting water sprinklers’.

The feedback from CAB

“I am responding to your request for advice/help in relation to the proposed installation of water sprinklers to your properties. 

It is true, as you say, that the cost of installation has been absorbed by both Croydon and Hammersmith Councils and they are not imposing any charges on their leaseholders.  I think the fact that Wandsworth  Council  are wanting to charge is a choice they made. If they had wanted to, they could have  which would be shared amongst others and absorbed the cost.

Your lease is not clear on the subject and the fact that the Council obtained their own legal advice on whether they could charge you, shows that they knew it was not entirely clear.  Under the circumstances it might be worth getting some formal legal advice.  This will however incur a cost, which if spread amongst a large number of you should be manageable.

You might start with this organisation:

https://clients.lease-advice.org/appointments.aspx

It is interesting that the government does not seem to provide financial support to any councils wishing to retro-fit sprinklers.  They judge it to be, in most cases, ’non –essential’.  Whereas they seem to have grants that covers the replacement of dangerous cladding.

So what to do?  I would suggest:

  • Get as many leaseholders as possible to sign up to your campaign.
  • Get further clarification of costs.  You need to check that the leaseholders are being subjected to an unfair proportion.
  • Ask the council about their formal appeal procedure against unfair imposition of service charges.
  • If legal advice (as above)  is to question decision to impose charges, to initiate formal legal action.  This could cost you all.  ( You might check how the Oxford case was funded.  They also may have access to legal resources who have experience of the issue.)
  • Complain to your MP”

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

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

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. Please note that if an email is sent any response might be part of a generic group email.

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

 

Alton Leaseholders (23 January 2018)

This group is still progressing with meetings with the aim of increasing leaseholder interests within the Alton Estate.

Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (18 January 2018)

There was a discussion regarding the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (18 January 2018). Much of what was discussed was highlighted in the email sent to the Councillors after the meeting. There was a good turnout of interested leaseholders that were sitting in the gallery. From the Alton Estate it was a bit disappointing as there were about 12 from the Alton Leaseholders, out of about 60 leaseholders.

 Legal advice

There was a discussion regarding obtaining legal advice. With one member having approached a lawyer regarding seeking an opinion. An action was for the Alton Leaseholders to come up with a template which leaseholders could use to start asking lawyers regarding obtaining quotes for opinion.

Current status of where members come from?

There was a discussion that many leaseholders are still not aware yet of the water sprinkler situation and if they were that they were not aware of the cost. To understand which blocks are missing from the Alton Leaseholders an action was to share the latest position of which blocks currently have members.

Vulnerable members

It was suggested that vulnerable members join forces to go to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to see (1) what financial assistance they might have recourse to and (2) what legal advice they might have recourse to. One volunteer offered to organise the meeting and Alton Leaseholders is to send an email to members to ask vulnerable members to join.

Leaflet

Alton Leaseholders is working up a leaflet to distribute to buildings which are impacted. This is to raise awareness amongst those that are unaware of what is happening. A draft has been sighted and needs to be reviewed and then shared with members. The idea being that each block will be responsible for the printing and distribution of the leaflets.

If interested

Email: altonleaseholders@yahoo.com

Facebook: Alton Leaseholders

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

Alton Leaseholders meeting (13 December 2017)

This was the third meeting of the newly created Alton Leaseholders group. Given it is the third meeting in just over a month (November 6th and 20th being the others) this highlights that there is a desire to create a leaseholders group which can positively influence change on the Alton Estate. In attendance there was about a dozen people who braved the cold and very wet weather who offered their views. It should be considered that over a period of a couple of months, driven primarily by one individual getting up early on weekends, that 56 leaseholders from mainly the tall buildings on the Alton Estate have expressed an interest in participating in this group.

Update on actions

The Chair was very keen to get updates from attendees on the progress of their actions. Like any meeting there was progress on some actions and not on others, which seems to be the case for almost any group depending on the capacity of individuals to commit and their ability to resource the action with life.

One action where the Chair was keen to emphasis was that an ask had gone out prior to the meeting requesting what items should be considered as part of a leaseholders group. Only one person provided any feedback on this.

To know what the actions are and what the progress was, that will be something for you to find out by attending a future meeting.

Water sprinklers

It has been mentioned at both of the previous meetings that there is need to not be focused only on water sprinklers, though this seems to be driving focus for many at the moment. This could be understandable given for many they have (1) have paid large sums on service charges mainly in part due to the installation of double glazing, (2) are having retro-fitting of water sprinklers forced on them without a choice and (3) there are far too many queries which need to be answered.

There still seems to be a slow take up of residents requesting a copy of the Fire Risk Assessment for their block. The numbers of Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) seen to date is only eight out of the 42 for the ward. The number 42 being the amount of buildings in the ward being retro-fitted with water sprinklers.

In terms of Councillor Govindia being able to obtain funding from the Government for water sprinklers there is some scepticism as an earlier request has already been turned down.

There was some discussion on whether the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward Councillors would assist. It was commented that Councillor Sue McKinney met with four residents during a Labour Saturday surgery and they convinced her that water sprinklers were not required (though this had to be discussed with the Opposition speaker at the Housing and Regeneration Overview Scrutiny Committee) yet a few days later at the Council meeting it was agreed and Councillor McKinney did not even speak on the topic despite representing a ward which has the most tall buildings to be impacted.

A general consideration was what, if any, support can be gathered from the ward Councillors. It was mentioned that at a June Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) it was mentioned by Councillor McKinney that the retro-fitting of water sprinklers was with cross party agreement.

An update was highlighted that someone who is very concerned by the looming expense of this sought assistance from Councillor Sue McKinney who then pointed that individual to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

One theory which was expressed was that this could be a long term strategy by the Council to make the blocks appear as though they were unsafe which might make it harder for owners to sell, in turn making this easier for the Council to buy back at lower cost than what otherwise might have been the case. This is assuming that, one day, the Council might buy these apartments back under possible future regeneration work.

Legal challenge

Those impacted by the possibility of having water sprinklers retro-fitted discussed the prospect of challenging this through the legal system. There was a desire to explore this option more fully at the next meeting.

Next meeting

That is to be confirmed though is currently pencilled in for 8 January 2017 (though this is yet to be confirmed).

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.

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