Fire safety on the Ledbury Estate

FAQs - leaseholders

Below are the most frequently asked questions from leaseholders. We have tried to answer them as fully as possible and answers will be updated as new information comes in.

Temporary accommodation

If we decide to move into temporary accommodation, will we be asked to pay rent (given that we are not paying rent for our current properties)?

In the short term the council is paying for your temporary accommodation.

If we are forced to move out for major works, can we arrange our temporary accommodation and will the council pay for the cost of this or do we have to take what we are offered by the council?

If residents choose to arrange their own temporary accommodation in agreement with the council  they can claim a contribution of 60% of the rental costs. Any residents considering this should speak with the dedicated team located in the TRA hall.

If the major works require that residents move out of the blocks for a long period of time, will the council offer residents council flats in the local area?

It is difficult to find reasonably priced temporary accommodation in Southwark. The temporary accommodation being procured at present is typically private accommodation outside the borough, but if it comes to this we will be speaking with leaseholders to find the best solution for them, which could be using local council owned properties.

If we have to empty our flats of furniture/belongings, will the council compensate us for damage done to our things as a result of the removal?

The contract the council has in place for the removal of residents’ goods insures each item listed on an inventory on a ‘new for old’ basis with no excess for all residents who need their property moving or stored.

Heating, hot water and electric works

At the meeting on 23 August, we were promised that models of the proposed system would be brought into the Ledbury TRA Hall. Where are these models?

We were unable to get models; however photos of temporary boilers and cylinders are available at the TRA hall and on the council’s Ledbury webpage – www.southwark.gov.uk/Ledbury

Will the council provide us with detailed costs of two or three existing district heating systems that are similar to what is being proposed for the Ledbury Towers?

Heating and hot water costs are unknown at this time as we do not know that the consumption in kw/hrs will be for all the flats combined. But similar blocks at Portland estate are shown below. Portland consists of four blocks of 54 flats (216 in total) served by a single boiler.

The table below shows the costs for maintaining the boiler for the four blocks, plus fuel.

Portland Boiler House

Costs 2016 to 17

Repairs boiler

1,854.33

Repairs non boiler (4 blocks)

16,454.80

Gas

70,729.67

PPM

39,897.41

Electricity

4,545.33

overhead

9,551.75

 

What would be the service charge costs for a 12 month period?

Similar blocks at Portland Estate towers (see previous question) paid between £588.00 and £721.92 per dwelling on energy costs and associated charges in 2016/17.

Can the heating and hot water charges, via the proposed meter, be charged directly to a tenant rather than via service charges (which landlords can't pass on)?

The need for individual heat meters is a relatively new requirement and we have not yet confirmed how we will charge residents. However, the heat meters will be fitted as part of any future major works: we do not intend to bill residents for the oil for the temporary boilers as it is more expensive than the permanent gas supply will be.

Can you provide details of how often major works have been carried out on district heating systems in the area over the past five years? How much these have cost and are leaseholders liable for these works?

We have replaced only underground heating distribution mains pipework and boilers which have reached the end of their service life. We have spent £23.7m on district heating investment work over the last five years. Leaseholders are usually liable for running costs, as set out in the Portland Estate example, including day to day repairs and replacement if required but we will not be charging for the work to install the new district heating system on the Ledbury.

Will leaseholders who have recently installed new gas boilers be reimbursed for the cost of the boiler as well as installation costs?

Similar to cookers, any leaseholder who has had a new gas boiler recently (within the warranty period) installed, will have their costs compensated in full. Please come and speak to the team at the TRA Hall to arrange this.

Does the council have figures for maximum power consumption per appliance, eg 10kw for cookers (and, if we are purchasing separate appliances, is this for both hob and oven or per separate appliance)?

Single ovens are normally rated around 3kw, which can be fed from the existing kitchen (socket) ring circuit. Where hobs are to be purchased we would ask that they are rated at 6kw and below. The intention would be for the oven to be fed from the existing kitchen ring main and that the (existing) 32amp supply oven supply is used to supply the hob.

Once UKPN have increased their local capacity then higher powered equipment can be considered.

Compensation

What is the process for claiming compensation for damage done to our flats, ie refurbishment to make good the property?

The council is taking advice on what its obligations to leaseholders are in respect of loss of rental income. As soon as we ae in a position to respond on this we will let you know and update this document.

If we were planning to carry out improvement work anyway, will the council consider a ‘part’ contribution to that work (ie that is equivalent to rectifying the damage caused, eg loss of storage space in the kitchen from installation of the boiler) rather than a straight ‘like-for-like’ compensation?

This would depend on the individual proposal for works and needs to be discussed with the council’s technical team who will assess the situation on each individual basis. Please come into the TRA Hall and speak to us.

If we have installed gas cookers/hobs, is there a deadline by which we must claim the money?

A reasonable time period would be within four months, but we will take a look at all cases based on individual circumstances.

Will leaseholders who have recently installed new gas boilers be reimbursed for the cost of the boiler as well as installation costs?

Similar to cookers, any leaseholder who has had a new gas boiler recently installed and it is still in the warranty period will have their costs compensated in full.

MySouthwark Homeowners say that the council will only pay for loss of rental income for existing tenants and not if the leaseholder was simply planning on getting tenants in. But independent legal advice says that leaseholders can claim for loss of rental income from tenants/lodgers one was planning to rent a room/flat to. Will the council reconsider its position?

The council is taking advice on what its obligations to leaseholders are. This may also be something that cannot be replied to until the final ARUP report has been received and the content and implications are understood.

What is the process for claiming loss of rental income for current tenants?

The council is taking advice on what its obligations to leaseholders are in respect of loss of rental income.

Can we have copies of all Section 20s relating to the Ledbury Towers over the past 5 years?

The section 20 Notices served on the Ledbury blocks in the last five years have been compiled onto an Excel spreadsheet that is available to view on request. Please see Gary Wallace at the Ledbury TRA Hall for access. Pop in during office hours or email to make an appointment: gary.wallace@southwark.gov.uk

Buybacks

What is the council offering leaseholders? How does it differ from the existing buy back scheme? How long will the council’s offer be open to tenants? What is the timeline for selling back to the council? Will the council offer leaseholders the opportunity to purchase an equivalent flat (size, quality, etc) in the area rather than selling our flats back to the council for cash – in other words, to swap their flats for something equivalent in the area? Will the buy-back offer include money to cover stamp duty, capital gains tax and money spent on refurbishment since the purchase of the flat?

We understand there are a large number of questions about the council’s offer to buyback leaseholder properties.

The offer to buy back properties is guaranteed, but the details are still being considered and will be the subject of consultation with members. The offer to leaseholders will be taken through a process under the council’s decision making arrangements. The proposals will be communicated to leaseholders as soon as is possible.

The Arup report

How will the contents of both the interim and the final report by Arup be communicated in such a way that all residents are able to understand the implications? Will the council be holding a Q&A session with engineers from Arup and other technical experts to ensure residents are given the opportunity to clarify aspects of the report that they don’t understand?

When the ARUP report has been received the council will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the contents are communicated to residents clearly.

The interim report has already been discussed at the residents meeting in August and is in the public domain. A Q&A session with the council and Arup will be organised when they have issued their final report.

Page last updated: 13 July 2018