Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Ongoing Lambeth leaseholder debacle

I've been leaked a copy of an email which was sent to Cllr Steve Reed (leader of Lambeth Council) and Derrick Anderson (Chief Executive of Lambeth Council), which I'm going to paste in full below:

I understand from Chris Lee's email response to me late last week that Lambeth Living stand by their estimates as Lambeth has been informed by their vendor, Lambeth Living, that all the estimates are correct and that, and I quote from Cathy Deplissis from Friday news piece, "Lambeth Living has a legal obligation to bill for service charges and Leaseholders have the legal obligation to pay thiose charges",

May I take this opportunity to remind you that those charges have to be "reasonable" and represent value for money otherwise they will not stand up in Leasholder Valauation Tribunal cases and again, this will be costly for Lambeth and will not help the organisations achieve the balanced budget by March 31st.

I am extremely disappointed that given the initial findings of the Audit Commission on the lack of response to Leaseholders' queries and request for information/evidence of charges etc, that we are still in this position and there seems to be no signs of progress to meet across the table to discuss this major issue.

I know that for political reasons, distancing oneself from the shambles of the ALMO might seem like a good idea, however, I cannot see how this will serve the longevity of any officer or Councillor as the fact remains that our Landlord is not ble to manage their property management contractor.

I can only say that after requesting this meeting, and Cllr. Pecks further follow up which has been ignored, that I will now have to email the residents who have again, given up their own time to work out their charges etc and sent copies to me so that I could have a discussion with you both, only to be let down again. I will aslo be sending this to the other Leaseholders that I have contact with as I have promised them that I will do what I can. and this failure is simply not for my lack of trying.

I am very disappointed that there are around 10,000 household in Lambeth being ignored and expected to pay for these hike in charges and the response is to pass this around and not to meet with us.

I will also be sending information to as many leaseholders as I can to inform them of their rights, under law, to hold Lambeth to account for these charges.

Yours in utter frustration and disappointment,

Steve Rice

It appears to me that Steve Rice is doing a fantastic public service for all Lambeth leaseholders. Remember, the inflated leaseholder bills are an issue across the whole Borough, and are not exclusive to SE11.

If progress on the issue (in the form of public meetings, and so on) is not forthcoming, then I will continue to publicise that fact in a way that makes it known to as many people as possible.


Steve said...

Seems that blogging and press releases really do get a response.
I have an initial conference call with Derrick Anderson.

It is not the meeting I had hoped for, but it is a start at least.

Will let you know the outcome.


Buy Condoms Online said...

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Steve said...

Hi All

I spoke with Derrick Anderson this morning and it would appear that he is hearing the severity of the problem and he has assured me that we will meet in the middle of next week.

Keep sending evidence of the hikes in your charges to me.

Email me for the address.


ps - thanks for the support Online Condoms!

Kennington Association said...

I heard that the Vauxhall Street traders are having their rents put up by 20% too.


ads uk free said...

nice job :(

Steve said...

Well everyone, I am very disappointed, but not surprised to say that another week has gone by and we have still not been granted a request for a meeting.

I will keep you informed.

If you can spare some time, the Finance Scrutiny Committee are going to be asking questions as to why these charges have increased so dramatically and with no accountability.

The meeting is in Room 8, Brixton Town Hall on Thursday, July 9th.

The Leasehold Council Meeting is straight after at 7pm in the Ante Chamber. Come along and have your voice heard.


Steve said...

HI All - a bit of an update.

We have finally been granted a meeting this lunchtime with Derrick Anderson and hopefully Steve Reed.

I also wanted to share this piece of information with you...... an urgent meeting calling into question the poor performance of the ALMO. Maybe see you there ?


Lambeth’s housing management service

This extraordinary meeting of the Council was requisitioned on 9 June 2009 by Councillors Steve Bradley, Jeremy Clyne, Roger Giess, Ashley Lumsden and John Whelan in the following terms:


MOVER: Councillor Ashley Lumsden

SECONDER: Councillor John Whelan

Council is alarmed and appalled at the disastrous decline in Lambeth’s
housing management service. In May, the ALMO has provided further
evidence of its inability to work properly with tenants; a deficiency that must be righted immediately.

Council condemns the Labour Administration for leading the service to the Council’s tenants and leaseholders into a downward spiral of cuts and demoralisation, and calls on the Leader of the Council and the present and previous Cabinet Members for Housing to account for their performance.

Council demands an urgent and thorough investigation into the marked and clear decline into Lambeth’s housing management service since it was inspected by the Audit Commission in 2006.

Council asks how the Administration intends to improve significantly the performance of the housing management service – in order that it can achieve two stars at the Audit Commission’s next inspection.

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in this- service charges and right-to-buy...
What about a competition? I bet I hold the record for the longest wait for a recorded delivery letter to be acknowledged by Lambeth, and for the fewest emails replied to.
On a serious note, Lambeth Living's latest addition of 'administration charges' "if you don't like it take us to an LVT" can safely be ignored and subtracted, if, like me, your lease makes no mention of administration charges. It took 15 minutes online to find an LVT verifying this issue.
Sick to death of being patronised, lied to, or ignored.

Steve said...

Rumour has it that the one of the most senior people in the ALMO has been fired.

The Director of Improvement (only appointed a few weeks back) was dismissed last night I heard.

Now if they get rid of the other officers who have been on duty when the service has imploded, then we might stand a chance at getting some results.

I dont hold my breath though.

And I would also like to know what the pay out was for this person to leave........ the mind boggles in a Council that rewards incompetence with promotions and pay rises.....

Keep fighting everyone, we must keep up the pressure.

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