Skip to main content

Leaseholder charging in Southwark - draft report published

Some months ago I posted on the leaseholder charging scrutiny which would be carried out by the Housing Scrutiny Committee.  Since then lots of hard work has gone into unpicking all of the issues surrounding leaseholder charges and we've just published the draft report.   You can see it here.

The report will be discussed by the sub-committee at next Monday's meeting and so there will be changes and additions following that discussion.  However, the central arguments and recommendations of the report are in place and will be of interest to leaseholders in Southwark who want to see a Labour council responding to their concerns.

Our aim from the outset has been make recommendations which would improve the process of leaseholder charging for the benefit of all residents of the borough. We've had excellent co-operation and engagement from council officers, the cabinet member and leaseholder representatives.

There are a number of recommendations, below are just some which are worth noting:

1. The council should offer leaseholders the option of a fixed service charge which incorporates both the annual services charge and major works service charges.

2. Full details of how the actual service charge is calculated should be provided on-line, rather than waiting for individual requests for this information.

3. Steps should be taken to make available on-line details of major works and annual service charges relating to individual leaseholders. Leaseholders would then be able to see an ongoing calculation of the charges being levied and to hold the council and its contractors to account for works which are being charged for. Leaseholders should be issued with details of an individual account to which they can log-on and see details of the annual and major works service charge calculations to which they are subject.

4. Improvements need to be made in cross-departmental working. Works needs to continue to be done in getting officers in the wider Housing Department to work more closely with officers in HO &TMI, and vice versa.

5. Given the consensus that there is a clear lack of appreciation of leaseholder issues by housing management staff. The sub-committee wishes to suggest two possible options which could be considered as ways of rectifying this problem.

a) Expand the remit and function of Home Ownership Division to take on a more general housing management role and activities to cover these issues; OR

b) Have a dedicated leaseholder officer based in each of the other housing management services who may or may not come under the  Home Ownership Division but will have to liaise and report to it.

As I say, we're still only at the draft stage, so I'd be very interested to hear from leaseholders or anyone else  if they have comments on the draft.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Know Your Ryes!

A few weeks ago I was in a meeting with some local residents and council officers. During the meeting one person started referring to Rye Lane, when in fact they meant Peckham Rye East. Later on another started talking about Peckham Rye Common and it took us a little while to work out that they really meant Peckham Rye Park.  
You can't really blame people for getting a little confused. There are so many references to "Rye" in our little bit of South London that even the locals can get mixed up. So I thought I'd have a go at writing a little glossary of all the Ryes hereabout.  Clearly I'm making a rod for my own back here, so please point out any errors I've made in the comments box below. 
Anyway, here are my definitions of the ubiquitous Ryes. Some serious, some not so serious, and in no particular order:
Peckham Rye Ward - The council ward area. Peckham Rye Ward was created out of Rye Ward, Waverley Ward and Bellenden Ward following the Local Authority Bo…

Free schools: A project cooked up by Tories who claim to be committed to social mobility has failed our children

(This post from Victoria about the closure of 'Southwark Free School', first appeared on LabourList.)

Last week saw the demise of yet another free school. Southwark Primary, which opened four-and-a-half-years ago in temporary buildings, will hastily close by February half-term never having made it to its permanent site, after being developed at great public expense. As Southwark council steps in to pick up the pieces and find places for children at other local schools it is difficult not to grind the axe about the government’s free school programme. We remain pragmatic that the programme is here to stay. However the government must reconsider the need for free school applicants to have a local and outstanding educational experience. At a time when many areas are experiencing a shortage of school places, and schools’ budgets are being cut, they must also stop wasting money building schools where there is no established demand. The story of free schools in Southwark makes clear …

Salt giveaway details

Southwark Council is giving away salt at the locations below. Click on the image to enlarge it.