Island Garden, St Georges, Glamis, Mile End and Holland Estates
Transparency Accountability Value for Money
Leaseholders and Freeholders on EEH Estates – an opportunity to work together to achieve justice and fair charges
- The creation of a Borough Wide properly constituted, subscription based, Housing Pressure Group, representing leaseholders and freeholders on all EEH Estates, that group to have the competence and the resources to protect the financial interests and the quality of life of leaseholders and freeholders on EEH Estates. It will guarantee EEH adherence to the principles of the Community Gateway Project on which basis the LBTH transferred its housing stock in 2005.
- The creation of four EEHLFA Homeownership Centres where leaseholders and freeholders from EEH estates can drop in to join the organisation, to exchange ideas and experience, obtain information, advice and support.
- Agreement on a full and comprehensive Recognition Agreement between Eastend Homes, (EEH) and the Eastend Homes Leaseholders and Freeholders Association, (EEHLF).
- Regular meaningful consultation between EEH and EEHLFA, namely,
- At Branch level. (Monthly)
- At Senior Management level (Bi-Monthly)
- At Board level (Quarterly)
- EEH Funding for a fully equipped, independent, EEHFLA office.
- EEH funded drop of EEHLFA Information pack incl. EEHLFA Newsletter (Quarterly) to all EEH Leaseholders and Freeholders.
- Service Charge External Audit to inspect EEH Accounting procedures and carry out in depth review of service charge costs and methodology.
- Value for Money Audit.
- Lease Compliance Audit.
- EEH Financial backing for Independent Alternative Dispute Resolution, (ADR) procedure, and, jointly with other social sector landlords, the creation of an ADR trust.
- Return of the mandatory £10,000 Cap.
- Structural Defect Survey to identify blocks which are now the subject of significant major works bills caused by neglect, under-investment and mismanagement over a long period in order to indemnify leaseholders who are currently liable under the terms of their leases.
- Full review of Major Works Consultation procedures.
- Joint approach by EEH and EEHLFA to central government for financial assistance to leaseholders facing crippling refurbishment bills.
- Conference with equal and full participation of all stakeholders and advice and support from external agencies to review EEH Governance, now and in the future.
- Honour the promises made by EEH to residents, underwritten by LBTH council, on which residents voted in the Stock Transfer ballot.
- Comprehensive and transparent disclosure about the cost to leaseholders and freeholders of the major works refurbishment plans on EEH estates, about the timing, the financing and the apportionment of those plans.
LEASEHOLD MANAGEMENT AGENDA
- Prepare borough-wide, co-ordinated, evidence based challenges to any EEH bill that does not give value for money because of:
- Waste and / or Inefficiency
- Irrelevance (Nothing to do with the lease)
- Unreasonable (Quality below Standard or Price Inflated)
- Unjustified or Unjustifiable (Landlord has no proof that costs were reasonably incurred)
- Illegal (Landlord has not complied with Statutory Orders)
- Challenges to be resolved through negotiation with landlord or if this fails by means of Alternative Dispute Resolution or application to the LVT.
- As far as possible, challenges which are predominantly to do with common parts issues should be pursued by groups of leaseholders in their respective blocks by means of class actions.
- EEHLFA will develop its own data base where members’ contentious or disputed service charge issues will be registered and classified. This Data Base will be known simply as EEHLFA Data.
- Seek a judicial review of double accounting, the practice where leaseholders and freeholders are charged twice for a service, in their service charge and in their council tax.
- EEHLFA will pursue and expose all examples of cross-subsidy and re-establish the principle of Block Accounting.
- EEHLFA will require the landlord to apprize all residents of how tenant, leaseholder and joint leaseholder/tenant costs and recharges are allocated and apportioned in order to re-establish a level and equitable playing field between the tenures.
- EEHLFA will obtain detailed information from EEH about the management and admin heads of charge with special reference to the 2008 LVT recommendations accepted by Tower Hamlets Council. Leaseholders will seek assurances that EEH has taken account of that landmark decision by the LVT and reviewed billing procedures accordingly.
- EEHLFA will review the status of EEH Freeholders and redeem the Council’s promise to write a Freeholders’ Charter of Rights and Obligations.
- EEHLFA will represent absentee landlords in order that their rights are protected and their obligations fully understood.
- EEHLFA will oppose major works projects which have not been the subject of in depth pre-consultation with the landlord adhering strictly to best practice in Tower Hamlets and other boroughs, or which have not been the subject of due regard panels set up to scrutinise all issues arising from Section 20 Consultation.
EEHLFA will work constructively with EEH, provided the landlord signs up to the principles and practice of transparency accountability and respect, works to improve value and drive down costs, and empowers homeowners to make their full contribution to shaping their own future. Failing that, leaseholders and freeholders will use every legal instrument at their disposal to enfranchise blocks where possible, or to bring their homes back under local authority control.
EEHLFA Management Committee November 19th 2009