21 June 2012

Southwark Labour to deliver on key changes for leaseholders

Southwark’s Labour-run Council has agreed to adopt all the proposals of an independent Housing Scrutiny Committee report into leaseholder charging.

Among the key recommendations are to provide leaseholders with an individual online account so that they know exactly how much money they will have to spend at the end of the year.  They also include a new two-tier system of charges to cater for requests to make minor changes to properties; at present leaseholders are charged a flat rate of £203 simply for enquiring about making a change to their property.

The Cabinet action plan agrees to allow leaseholders to know who signed off works which leaseholders are expected to pay for, increasing transparency and accountability.  

The Council has also agreed to investigate offering leaseholders the option of a fixed service charge which incorporates both the annual services charge and major works service charges. This will help leaseholders plan for the future and avoid a situation where a leaseholder’s final annual service charge is significantly higher than they were expecting.

Labour believes that efficiently administered leaseholder charges will benefit tenants and leaseholders alike – ensuring that money is not wasted on tribunal and court disputes.

You can see the full Cabinet response here and the action plan is here.

As Chair of Southwark’s Housing Scrutiny Committee I'm delighted that the Council cabinet has agreed to accept all the recommendations of our report. It demonstrates Labour's commitment to ensuring a fair deal for Southwark’s leaseholders.”

Councillor Ian Wingfield, Southwark Labour’s Cabinet Member for Housing recently said:

“Under the previous Lib Dem administration, leaseholders were made to pay unfair charges for refurbishment and fire safety works. That is why Labour pledged in 2010 to write a new leaseholder compact on fair charging. This is a significant first step in delivering on that promise.

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