Edmundsbury Court Estate Tenants & Residents Association
Edmundsbury Community Hall, 171 Ferndale Road, London SW9 8FQ
Mon-Sun: 9am-10pm
22 Oct 2018

Edmundsbury BBQ 2018

This year we had a great time at the BBQ, there was a bouncy castle, giant connect4, Giant Jenga, Limbo, Tug of war and relay for all adults and children to participate. Everyone had a great time enjoying each others company but just having a time to socailise and meet new neighbours in some instance. We also had the presence of our local Counsillor Joshua Lindsey which we appreciate him taking the time out on a sunday afternoon to support our event.

We had an array of food from Vegan BBQ to your typical BBQ foods hotdogs and burgers, in addition to Jerk chicken and BBQ salmon. Food available for all to enjoy and for dessert Ice Cream, Cake and Watermelon.

A great day hope to see more residents and their families next year, if you have any ideas for a community event that you would like to lead on with the support of the TRA dont hesitate to get in touch and we can see what we can do.

03 Sep 2018

Major Works Assembly

Lambeth Council Housing and the resident Area Boards are planning a Major Works Assembly scheduled for Monday 10 September from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Town Hall in room Basement 06.

We are seeking your questions so that we can address them at the assembly – some topics already suggested are improvements in quality of works, update on procurement process, and performance against KPIs. Please be mindful of the time and focus helping moving forward rather than focusing solely on the problems. Ideas will be welcome and gathered for grouping, evaluation, etc.

Attached are draft versions of the 2019/20 indicative programme and report on the capital programme that will go to Overview & Scrutiny Committee for your information.

Please register your interest in attending and submit concise questions by 5 September by emailing us atresidentsassembly@lambeth.gov.uk

Regards,

Andrew Willis
Project Officer (Seconded to Office of Neil Wightman)
Housing Services
London Borough of Lambeth

Phone: 020 7926 4248
Mobile: 07720 827 855
Email: awillis@lambeth.gov.uk
Website: www.lambeth.gov.uk

 

Housing Services
London Borough of Lambeth
4th Floor Civic Centre
6 Brixton Hill
SW2 1EG

 

2019-2020 Indicative Capital Programme – DRAFT

LHS report – DRAFT

22 Jul 2018

Edmundsbury Leaseholder Bills

Introduction

A few weeks before Christmas (2017) leaseholders on Edmundsbury Estate were sent bills for over £1,400 each from Lambeth Council for Major Works. The works were the installation of the door entry systems that were installed in 2013. Some leaseholders had been sent bills earlier in the year, not stating the nature of the works. Some leaseholders were reluctant to pay this bill as it was so old, some were tenants in 2013, not leaseholders, others didn’t live here in 2013. When we looked into it, we read under Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (the Act):

“if the freeholder incurs relevant costs that are more than 18 months old, then the freeholder is required to serve notice on the leaseholders in accordance with section 20B(2) informing them that they will be required to contribute towards these costs at some future time”

We understood from this, that in addition to the Council issuing a Section 20 Notice for expected costs of major works, then they have to charge leaseholders within 18 months or issue Leaseholders a Section 20B notice within that 18 months.

Many leaseholders didn’t pay this bill, a few set up to pay by instalments. In addition, whilst some leaseholders were told that they had to pay this bill into a separate account to their regular day-to-day service charges, other residents were told that their regular day-to-day service charges, that they had been paying for years by standing order, were not being paid. When they questioned this it appeared as if Lambeth Council had changed the account numbers so their regular service charges were paying for the Major Works – the bill that they had refused to pay.

Another leaseholder was accused of not paying previous year’s service charges, but no bill, receipt or evidence was forthcoming.

Jonathan Harbourne wrote on behalf of Edmundsbury Estate leaseholders (after emails from other leaseholders had not been responded to) to Chris Ojo from Homeowner Services seeking clarification. Our new Councillor, Cllr Irfan Mohammed, supported us by issuing a ‘Member’s Enquiry’ – so that an Officer would be compelled to respond to our questions.

 

Letter and Response

Original Letter sent from Edmundsbury Estate to Leaseholder Services
Sent:
27 June 2018 17:39

Dear Chris Ojo, Lambeth Council Homeowner Services

I understand that Tim, the acting chair of the Edmundsbury Leaseholders Group, has invited you to meet the leaseholders of Edmundsbury Court Estate on any Monday evening at our community hall. I understand that he hasn’t received a reply yet.

We have our next Quarterly Residents Meeting on
Monday 23rd July 7-9pm, Edmundsbury Community Hall
and warmly invite you to attend.

If not, the original invitation of any Monday evening before August is still open!

There are some common questions that leaseholders are asking – as certain people have been given different information.

1a. In respect the 2013 intercom replacement bill that Edmundsbury Leaseholders received in November 2017:
Works must be invoiced to leaseholders within 18 months of the freeholder incurring the cost.
• What date did you become contractually required to make payment to the contractor – can you produce the bill?
• Why did you wait 4 years to invoice Leaseholders?
1b. Did you, within the period of 18 months beginning with the date when the relevant costs in question were incurred, notify the leaseholders in writing that those costs had been incurred and that they would subsequently be required under the terms of their lease to contribute to them by the payment of a service charge?
• If you did – can you produce the communication.

2a. Please state which account number is for Major Works, and which account number is for regular annual service charges.
2b. Leaseholders have been accused of not paying their regular annual service charges by Lambeth, because their payments have been diverted into the Major Works Account.
Have you recently changed these account numbers around? How and when did you communicate this to Leaseholders?
2c. If leaseholders understood that they were paying their regular annual service charge, but because the account numbers were changed, the money has not gone to where they intended:
• What is the process for them to rectify this?
• How long does it take?
• What assurance can you give them that this has been rectified once and for all?

3. Leaseholders have been accused by Lambeth of not paying previous year’s bills in full.
No evidence, invoices or receipts, have been produced for these bills.
• Is this your normal practice?
• Can leaseholders expect details of apparent unpaid bills?

4. If a resident reports a problem with a building – the repair is prioritised but not repaired –
• what is the mechanism/action can we take to get the repair done?
(Some simple repairs we reported a couple of years ago, and every quarter since, are causing damage to flats which is incurring more costs to Lambeth).

The Edmundsbury Leaseholders look forward to your answers to all the above questions in a timely fashion, and hope that you can attend either a Leaseholders meeting or our Residents Meeting.

I look forward to attending the The Lambeth Council Homeowners Assembly scheduled for Thursday 5 July 2018 from 6:30pm to 9pm at the Town Hall in Room 1-16.

Many thanks
Jonathan

Jonathan Harbourne
8 Glasbury House
Edmundsbury Court Estate
Ferndale Road, Brixton
London SW9 8AY UK

07939 490702

CC. Ferndale Councillors and Lambeth MP

Ifram – if we don’t get a response to this within a week – would you ask this as a ‘Members’ (ME) Enquiry’. The council target is to respond to 90% of MEs within 10 working days.

Response from Leaseholder Services to Edmundsbury Estate
Received 12th July 2018 at 12:34

Thank you for your below email to which I respond with the following.

After communicating your enquiries listed under section 1 with the Section 20 Manager, Karen Kellaway, she has provided the following response and attachment.

1a: The first payment certificate for this contract is dated the 30 January 2014 and I have attached all the payment certificates to this email.

Before April 2017, the Councils processes have not been as robust as they could have been and it led to delays between receipting the final account and issuing it to leaseholders. As soon as the final account for your estate was received by Home Ownership Services, it was calculated and invoiced swiftly. I can only apologise for the delay you have experienced.

1b: Leaseholders were informed of the costs apportioned to them for the major works programme via an estimated invoice dated 19 December 2013. I have attached a sample of an estimated invoice for this works as per request. A breakdown of costs was provided and there were notes on how cost was calculated and how to make payments.

If you have any further enquiries in relation to the above you can contact the

Section 20 Manager
Karen Kellaway directly with the following details.
Email: kkellaway@lambeth.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 79263715.

2a-b I have attached a copy of both your 17/18 and 18/19 service charge estimate, both of which provide information relating to questions 2a-c. Please review the first few pages, after which point I suggest it would be helpful if you are able to either relay this information to your resident association at your next meeting, or provide them with copies of the relevant information.

2c: For residents who have failed to use the correct reference when making payments, resulting in payments being allocated to the oldest outstanding debts, a request can be made by email or post asking that relevant payments are moved across from one invoice to another. Please note, the exact amount, date and number of payments must all be stated in order that payments are moved across correctly. This process can take up to 28 working days, after which point a resident can request a statement or login to their My Lambeth account and view and up to date statement on line.

3: It is expected that leaseholders are firstly aware of their account balance, whether it be debit or credit. Lambeth provide access to individual accounts via ‘My Portal’ located on the Lambeth Council website. All are also able to request an up to date statement at any point via several methods, such as phone and email. For those who wish to query bills further we offer an appointment service at our Civic Centre or alternatively, similarly to the above we can be contacted by various methods.

4: As you can appreciate, you have contacted the Service Charge Collection Team and not the Repairs Department, despite this I have managed to obtain the below information in relation to issues revolving around repairs.

Where you have reported a repair and are unhappy with the developments, you have a choice of contacting your local area housing office which can be done via the contact centre on 020 7926 6700 or you can raise a complaint using the Lambeth Website directly to the Repairs Department, which will be logged and monitored.

I hope the above is of help and if you require further information you can contact me by reply.

Regards

Chris Ojo
Service Charge Coordinator
Housing Management
London Borough of Lambeth
Phone: 020 792 63743

Email: cojo@lambeth.gov.uk
www.lambeth.gov.uk

London Borough of Lambeth
Homeownership Services
PO box 734
Winchester
SO23 5DG

Were all the questions answered and what do they mean?

1. Do Leaseholders have to pay the major works bill for the 2018 intercom?

Don’t Know – we should ask a Lawyer

Leaseholder services informed Leaseholders of the costs apportioned to them for the major works programme via an estimated invoice dated 19 December 2013. The Payment Certificates for this work were signed on 2 July 2014. They did not pass this bill on to leaseholders within 18 months, it took them 40 months to do so.

“Before April 2017, the Councils processes have not been as robust as they could have been and it led to delays between receipting the final account and issuing it to leaseholders. As soon as the final account for your estate was received by Home Ownership Services, it was calculated and invoiced swiftly. I can only apologise for the delay you have experienced.”

When asked if Lambeth communicated about this bill between the first S20 and the final bill being presented in November 2017 they responded “Leaseholders were informed of the costs apportioned to them for the major works programme via an estimated invoice dated 19 December 2013 – so “no”.

The Leaseholders Advisory Service said: “If that period is more than 18 months from notification of the demand for payment [November 2017], and where a notice under section 20B was not served on you, you may be in a position to challenge the demand for payment.”

I think we now have enough information to pass on to a solicitor to see if they recommend challenging this Major Works bill. My suggestion is to write to Pam Douglas from Wainwright & Cummins, who wrote an article in the Brixton Blog about this very issue.

 

2. Have Account Numbers for Regular Service Charges and Major Works bills changed?

There is now One Account but you have to quote the correct Invoice Number

Lambeth sent out a letter dated 26th February 2018 that states:

“Your account number (the 9 digit payment reference number on your statements) remains the same, this will not change. You can still pay using your 9 digit account number, but when you do the payment will be automatically allocated to invoices on your account. If you quote an invoice number when making payment, your payment will be allocated to a specific invoice. This makes it possible to see exactly which invoice a payment has been made against, as each invoice has its own balance.”

If you have made payments intended to pay your Regular Service Charge, but have an outstanding Major Works bill:

“a request can be made by email or post asking that relevant payments are moved across from one invoice to another”.

3. Can Lambeth make you pay for a bill that you think you’ve paid without producing evidence?

Lambeth referred us to the ‘My Portal’ website as evidence of where up-to-date accounts are kept. I’ve just logged on an added my 7-digit Housing Reference Number so I can see my Service Charges (my Council Tax was already set up). When access is granted (when I get my ‘unlock’ code in the post) I’ll let you know how I get on – and I’ll ask the particular leaseholder who was presented with past bills if all the information is up-to-date on this system.

4. Is there a mechanism/action can we take to get urgent repairs done?

Yes – make a complaint: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/council-tenants-and-homeowners/about-lambeth-housing/complain-about-housing-management

I will make a complaint of some repairs that I have reported over three years ago – I’ll keep you updated as to how long it takes for them to be resolved.

Client Number: 853834
Enquiry Number: 633333
 
Dear Mr Jonathan Harbourne,
 
Thank you for your enquiry of 15/01/2018.
 
Please note that the position under Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (the Act) is that if the freeholder incurs relevant costs that are more than 18 months old, then they are required to serve notice on the leaseholders in accordance with section 20B(2) informing them that they will be required to contribute towards these costs at some future time.
The notice must contain a specified amount of the overall  spend, even if it is an over estimate.
It will be important to consider when the costs were incurred for the purpose of recording the time. The case of Burr v OM Property Management Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 479;  [2013] WLR (D)  164 makes it clear that time starts to run for the purpose of this rule from either when the freeholder is presented with a demand for payment or when payment is made. I attach a link below to some information on the case for your benefit.  
 
In this regard, time starts to run from the period the freeholder council became contractually required to make payment to a third party contractor. You will need to make enquiries about when payment in respect of these services were paid or needed to be paid. If that period is more than 18 months from notification of the demand for payment, and where a notice under section 20B was not served on you, you may be in a position to challenge the demand for payment.  
     
In other words although you received the invoice in November 2017, and it states that it is for works carried out in 2013/14, you will only be in a position to obtain the benefit of the 18 month rule if payment in respect of the works was made within 18 months of receipt of  the invoice by the council  or the invoice was received within an 18 month period prior to November 2017 and the council failed to serve notices under section 20B(2)  of the Act that you will be liable to contribute to the cost.
It will be crucially important for you to obtain information from the council about when payment was made or an invoice received in respect of the cost, and to ascertain whether or not 18 months has passed since that time without the relevant notification to you and others.       
 
Where you do not consider the demand payable, then it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for a determination about the reasonableness and payability of such a demand.
Regrettably, the Leasehold Advisory Service does not provide property litigation advice and I am unable to comment on the merits of your claim. You will need to seek specialist advice thereto.
 
I hope my comments prove helpful, but if you have any questions please feel free to contact LEASE again quoting your Client Number 853834. You can telephone on 020 7832 2500 or reply to this message using the link below.
Finally, you are invited to use the link below to complete a short survey regarding this response to your enquiry. Your answers help us maintain and improve the quality of our service.
Yours sincerely,
Alero Orimoloye
 
Leasehold Adviser
The Leasehold Advisory Service
Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX.
Telephone: 020 7832 2500
Fax: 020 7832 2529

Click to download letter in full in PDF


 

22 August 2018

The council has issued a service charge invoice in respect of major works service charges which have been undertaken to your block or estate.

The council acknowledges that in this particular instance we may not have served you with a service charge demand or notified you by way of a S20B notice within 18 months of the costs being incurred;

[20B Limitation of service charges: time limit on making demands]
(1)If any of the relevant costs taken into account in determining the amount of any service charge were incurred more than 18 months before a demand for payment of the service charge is served on the tenant, then (subject to subsection (2) ), the tenant shall not be liable to pay so much of the service charge as reflects the costs so incurred.

(2)Subsection (1) shall not apply if, within the period of 18 months beginning with the date when the relevant costs in question were incurred, the tenant was notified in writing that those costs had been incurred and that he would subsequently be required under the terms of his lease to contribute to them by the payment of a service charge.]

However, the Council’s position remains that through the service of the S20 notice, emails, site meetings and correspondence on the matter, you would be aware of the councils intention to issue a service charge demand for the costs which the council have incurred undertaking works to your block or estate.

The council’s position is quite clear. Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 does not prohibit the landlord from demanding monies. It is simply not equitable for the Landlord not to raise service charge demands for work which it has undertaken and paid for.

The council as your landlord has an obligation to undertake the maintenance repair renewal reinstatements improvements rebuilding cleaning and decoration of our blocks and estates, which will have added value to your property.

Within a ring fenced HRA, any service charge demands which are not paid by the leasehold owners will ultimately be paid by the tenants, who in essence will be subsidising homeownership.

From the Councils perspective, we believe the approach taken to construct your final account is reasonable. Furthermore, we have provided all the documentation currently available to support the final account and charges. We are more than happy to address any further questions around the documentation provided, however, to be clear we have now provided you with everything currently available to justify the costs incurred.

The council is seeking a contribution to the costs of the works incurred, of which, your property has benefitted from. The council will continue to contact you to discuss your service charge demand and the methods of payment available to you.
I would therefore suggest that you contact the Collections team on 02079267132 and enter into a payment plan to settle the invoice.

I trust the above has now clarified all the points you have raised in your enquiry.
Kind regards

Johnson Ajayi
Leasehold Team Leader
Housing Services
London Borough of Lambeth
Phone: 020 7926 6266
Mobile: 07720 827492
Fax: 020 7926 3482
Email: jaajayi@lambeth.gov.uk

16 Jul 2018

Ferndale Safer Neighbourhoods panel meeting

Your Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) is a group of Met police officers dedicated to serving your community. The team is made up of officers based in your area (or ‘ward’), supported by additional officers from the wider area.

We work closely with local authorities, community leaders and residents to decide our policing priorities for the area. This helps us to find useful, long-term solutions to local problems, while maintaining our wider focus on reducing crime across London.

The Next Ferndale Ward Panel Meeting will be held at 7pm on Monday 30th July in the Edmundsbury Court Estate Community Hall at 171 Ferndale Road, SW9 8FQ

We will be having an input from some colleagues from Roads and Transport Policing who would like to tell you about their new Community Road Watch Team and are hoping for some volunteers to assist with the work they are doing. Have a look at the following link which outlines some of the work they do and feel free to bring along any neighbours or friends who you think may be interested in hearing more about their project

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-43841859

If anyone would like anything added to the Agenda please let me know

Sadly this will be my final Panel Meeting as I will be stepping away from Neighbourhood Policing in the near future – I hope to see as many of you as possible at the Meeting

Kind Regards

Julie-Anne
Julie-Anne Cockburn  PC 284LX  Lambeth Central
Ferndale Dedicated Ward Officer

Metphone 789581   Telephone 020 7161 9584
Mobile 020 8721 2774
Address 4-6 Clement Avenue, Clapham SW4 7TY

Follow us @mpsferndale

METROPOLITAN POLICE SERVICE

05 Jul 2018

Residents Meeting: Monday 23rd July 7-9pm

Join us for our quarterly Residents Meeting of the Edmundsbury Court TRA at the Community Hall.
All Welcome! Please come!
Monday 7pm-9pm 23 July

Officers of Lambeth Council have been invited, along with our local Councillors and Lambeth’s Leaseholders Officer.
The meeting will be led by our new TRA team: Victoria, Esther, Lelia and Cherlyn – please come and support them!

We’ll be discussing:

  1. Parking and Mechanics on the Estate
  2. Gates and CCTV
  3. Noise from Parties
  4. Lambeth’s Leaseholders Bills
  5. Damp and water in flats
  6. Book your space on the Summer Coach Trip!
  7. Volunteer for our annual Summer BBQ

…and more – come along with your questions.

If you want anything added to the agenda – please add your requests to the comments box below.

Come and see our newly renovated community hall – along with a brand new kitchen and flooring!

Notes

  1. Parking and Mechanics on the Estate
    Victoria has been working hard to combat the problem of independent motor mechanics using our front guest car-park as their public garage. She has met with Paul Webb and the garage team.
  2. Gates and CCTV
    Samantha said she would produce a consultation leaflet to be put through everyone’s doors to ask what residents opinions were about having gates at the front of the estate, possibly paid for by saving money from the CCTV cameras. This has not happened. Jonathan will draft a leaflet instead, and bring it to the meeting. Victoria said Paul Webb thought it would be difficult to decommission something that is already in place to fund something that isn’t – we’ll look into the facts of this, as we know other estates are requesting CCTV – so if residents can request something it suggests that they could also suggest NOT to have something.
    The facts that we want to present are:
    • Annual Cost of CCTV
    • Amount of evidence presented in court from our CCTV in the last five years
    • Mechanism for Residents to remove a service that they are paying for but do no want (CCTV, if it turns out no evidence has ever been gathered)
    • Process for Residents to request a service (the gates) that they do want
    Residents thinks gates will help solve the following issues
    • Mechanics using our front car park
    • Lambeth Staff parking in our car park
    • Fly Tipping
    • Drug users injecting on our estate and discarding dirty needles
    • Homeless people sleeping behind the hall
    • Defecating
    • Drunk people exiting the Duke of Edinbugh Pub thinking there is a thoroughfare
    • Anti Social Behaviour
    • General Security
  3. Noise from Parties
    There have been some complaints about noisy parties in the community hall. Contrary to assumptions, these have not been external hirers, but residents themselves. I’m sure we’ll talk more about this at the meeting.
  4. Lambeth’s Leaseholders Bills
    We’ve asked Irfan, our councillor, to put in a Member’s Enquiry (ME), a mechanism for getting answers out of Officers – as leaseholders think that they are being presented with bills that are not correct, legal or appropriate.
  5. Damp and water in flats
    Still no movement on the missing cowls on the roof that are meeting in water. The ME has also asked what mechanism we can use to push through repairs that are being ignored.

Here’s the full Member’s Enquiry Request:

Dear Chris Ojo, Lambeth Council Homeowner Services

I understand that Tim, the acting chair of the Edmundsbury Leaseholders Group, has invited you to meet the leaseholders of Edmundsbury Court Estate on any Monday evening at our community hall. I understand that he hasn’t received a reply yet.
We have our next Quarterly Residents Meeting on Monday 23rd July 7-9pm, Edmundsbury Community Hall and warmly invite you to attend.
If not, the original invitation of any Monday evening before August is still open!
There are some common questions that leaseholders are asking – as certain people have been given different information.
1a. In respect the the 2013 intercom replacement bill that Edmundsbury Leaseholders received in November 2017: Works must be invoiced to leaseholders within 18 months of the freeholder incurring the cost. 
• What date did you become contractually required to make payment to the contractor – can you produce the bill?
• Why did you wait 4 years to invoice Leaseholders?
1b. Did you, within the period of 18 months beginning with the date when the relevant costs in question were incurred, notify the leaseholders in writing that those costs had been incurred and that they would subsequently be required under the terms of their lease to contribute to them by the payment of a service charge?
• If you did – can you produce the communication.
2a. Please state which account number is for Major Works, and which account number is for regular annual service charges.
2b. Leaseholders have been accused of not paying their regular annual service charges by Lambeth, because their payments have been diverted into the Major Works Account.
• Have you recently changed these account numbers around? How and when did you communicate this to Leaseholders?
2c. If leaseholders understood that they were paying their regular annual service charge, but because the account numbers were changed, the money has not gone to where they intended:
• What is the process for them to rectify this?
• How long does it take?
• What assurance can you give them that this has been rectified once and for all?
3.  Leaseholders have been accused by Lambeth of not paying previous year’s bills in full. No evidence, invoices or receipts, have been produced for these bills.
• Is this your normal practice?
• Can leaseholders expect details of apparent unpaid bills?
4. If a resident reports a problem with a building – the repair is prioritised but not repaired
• what is the mechanism/action can we take to get the repair done?
(Some simple repairs we reported a couple of years ago, and every quarter since, are causing damage to flats which is incurring more costs to Lambeth).
The Edmundsbury Leaseholders look forward to your answers to all the above questions in a timely fashion, and hope that you can attend either a Leaseholders meeting or our Residents Meeting.

I look forward to attending the The Lambeth Council Homeowners Assembly scheduled for Thursday 5 July 2018 from 6:30pm to 9pm at the Town Hall in Room 1-16.

Many thanks
Jonathan
05 Apr 2018

2018 AGM – May 14th 7pm

All Residents are warmly invited to attend our Estate TRA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday 14th May 7-9pm in our Community Hall

The AGM is where you get to put yourself forward to lead the Tenants and Residents Association or vote for its officers:

  • Chair – the person who leads and directs the TRA and chairs the meetings
  • Secretary – the person who records what goes on in the meetings (writes the ‘minutes’), and looks after the website and social media
  • Treasurer – looks after the bank account and keeps the income and expenditure organised
  • Vice-Chair – assists the chair in leading the TRA

All this is done in accordance with the TRA’s Mission Statement and Constitution (the rules that govern how the TRA is run).

At the AGM all officers stand down, and Lambeth Council officers oversee the election for the new people, or those wishing to stand again. At this year’s AGM, the Chair and the Vice-Chair are not standing again, and the Secretary has already moved away from the estate.

We will need 3 new people to continue the TRA! 

If you’re reading this – then you should seriously consider standing. Without three people taking the leadership role – there will be no TRA. You can be a council tenant, private leaseholder or a sub-letter. There are four resident meetings a year – and everyone is informed and invited.

The TRA’s income comes from hiring out the Community Hall – which we are very lucky to have (not all TRA’s are so fortunate). We use the Hall for our own events (Keep Fit, Meetings, Youth Club), and hire it out for resident parties and to other organisations, like the NHS, for meetings.

The income that comes from the Hall is used for its maintenance and upkeep, and also for TRA events, such as: Summer Coach Trip, Children’s Pantomime, Summer BBQ.

Another part of the role of the TRA leadership is to represent the residents in dealing with the Council and its Contractors. You could put yourself forward to be on the Area Board, influencing all Lambeth’s Council’s housing, or attend the quarterly police panel to bring issues of community safety.

 

2017-2018

We’ve had many accomplishments over the year.

Events

  • Keep Fit organised by Cherlyn, is the mainstay event of Edmundsbury – the weekly group meets every Tuesday at 7pm with different teachers who make exercising fun and exciting. Their recent WhatsApp group gives them weekly reminders, tips and motivation.
  • Summer Coach Trip also organised by Cherlyn, is always a sell-out. Last year a coach load of residents, friends and family, visited Margate.
  • Girl’s Friendly Society Youth Club, started by Bryony this year, meets every Wednesday in the Hall at 5pm.
  • Summer BBQ was a great event again this year – organised by Bryony and Lois, Esther – we’re already looking forward to this year’s!
  • Hanging Baskets make our estate look even better in the summer – and the annual planting event is such a great day – we didn’t have so many people turn out this last year as we do normally, so we’re hoping for a big crowd this year.
  • Community Gardening Brian and Kajsa consistently do wonderful work in the vegetable garden, and are supported by a community gardener funded by Lambeth. Gardening is a wonderful activity, suitable for all ages, if you’ve never done it before, or are an experienced gardener, join the monthly gardening group. This year they have plans for new green houses behind the community hall.
  • Block Painting was, for me, the best event of the year. Not only did it make the biggest difference to the look of our estate – it was also the most fun I had.
  • Leaseholder’s Group met for the first time, and sought legal advice on Lambeth’s bills.
  • Christmas Carol Concert in the community hall with the vicar of St Paul’s leading the proceedings with participation from many families and children on the estate.
  • Edmundsbury Social WhatsApp group – had some great evenings at the Duke of Edinburgh and other venues (see Bryony to join the group).

Dan does a great job in opening up the hall and making sure it’s warm and organised for the dozens of events we host every week.

Projects

  • Outdoor Gym installation was a great success, despite some initial reservation. It blended in well with the garden, once the grass had grown back, and was used every day during the summer last year – especially by a couple of very dedicated residents who got together every morning.
  • Community Hall Renovation is currently underway – with new flooring, windows, kitchen. We are very grateful for the funding we got from Lambeth Council for this, which will make the hall everything we wanted it to be.
  • Tree Pruning at the back of Fosbury and Dalbury House.

Projects in the Pipeline

  • Cycle Storage has been scoped out and Chris is working with Estate Pride to get this installed.
  • Estate Action Plan produced by Samantha Stewart, sets out the resident agreed focus for the estate maintenance. We’ve put the number-pad activated gates at the front of the estate as our main priority, to prevent fly-tipping, outsider parking, drug-users and other anti social behaviour on the estate. Other essential repairs that Lambeth need to complete are: metal grills and doors at the top of the stairwells that bang in the storms and let water in; Cowls on vent pipes on roof that left water in; Damp; Rat holes; Cracked gables on front of blocks.
  • Greenhouse to support our gardeners, at the back of the community hall.

Awards

  • Monty won best private garden in the Annual Lambeth Pride Awards

My Four Years

I‘ve been chair for four years and this year I stand down. I not only put a lot of time into the estate and its people, but have got so much out of it too! Who would thought I would get into gardening and be part of a garden which won ‘Best Food Growing Project of the Year’? My farming family were quite surprised when I announced this to them, being a ‘soft city person’. I was also very pleased to win Resident of the Year for setting up the Lambeth TRA Network, and helping other estates with their projects and issues.

When I was elected chair, I had never attended a TRA meeting before, and didn’t know what a TRA was for or what it did (or didn’t) do! It was great to think about how to actively go about improving our estate, our homes, our experience of living at Edmundsbury. The best bit was to get to know all the neighbours. I know many people in London like to keep themselves to themselves, and I had done that for 15 years. Having been thrown in at the deep-end, I have come out with some truly lovely friends.

I set up a web site, a private Facebook Group, Twitter, and published a monthly newsletter for a while. Cherlyn and I upgraded the Community Hall, ordered new furniture. I established an online booking system for people to hire the community hall – which enabled us to take payment cards and get rid of cash. I installed fast broadband wi-fi in the hall. We built the Edible Garden, and planted some areas under two trees. I planted saplings from the Woodland Trust, and planted hundred of bulbs that were donated. We had a film club. I worked with Monica to set up the After School Club, which I hope will start up again next September. I worked with Estate Pride to get the children’s playground renovated, and with Lambeth to trim the trees. I participated in the Tai Chi that ran for a year, that Cordelia organised, and worked with Cherlyn to take children to a Christmas Pantomime. I introduced the annual Christmas Carol Concert, which was a great way to reach out our wider community and involve St Paul’s opposite the estate.

I got to run several really useful and well-attended workshops in our community hall, or on other estates or Pop Brixton: Dealing with vulnerable residents, Build your own website; A Guide to Lambeth Repairs Process; Training and Courses available Free to Lambeth Residents; How to apply for Grants; How to start events for Young People.

Working with Lambeth Council was also very enjoyable, if not challenging at times. But it proved to be way more rewarding than I expected. Meeting the decision-makers, finding out how things actually work, meeting people like Ivor (who sadly passed away last year) who encouraged me to build the garden, and Mark, who gave us the money to renovate the hall, and Maria from comms… I got to chair the Clapham Area Housing Forum, to attend the quarterly police panels, speak at other estate’s AGMs, attend the annual Tenant’s Conference and run a workshop there, attend courses, and be invited to award presentations and ceremonies that Lambeth Council were nominated for.

For two years we turned our AGM into the ‘Edmunds Awards’, acknowledging residents for amazing work they had done.

It’s been a very rewarding time for me, I’ve learned a lot, it’s given me great confidence and been a fascinating journey of discovery, positive action and I’ve received some awards and some wonderful acknowledgement. I’ll look back at this four years and feel it was all worth it.

I heartily encourage residents to get involved in the TRA, to stand for election at this year’s AGM – its full of surprises and rewards, and you have us all supporting you, helping and encouraging you.

 

30 Nov 2017

URGENT CALL: Area Board Meeting on 4th December 

Lambeth Homeowners Association (LHA)

If you are an Area Board TRA rep or a Lambeth 500+ rep (or you know someone who is) irrespective whether Tenant or Homeowner please contact us/ask them to contact us via our link by clicking here

We want to enable as many attending reps as possible to be able to talk with each other and with us prior to the meeting on 4 December.

The Council have refused to name reps until we agree the Constitution!

Area Board Constitution/Terms of Reference (ToR) Meeting
Irrespective of whether you are a rep or not please come along on to the
Area Boards meeting on the 4th December from 7-9pm
Lecture Theatre
International House Canterbury
Crescent SW9 7QE

The purpose of this meeting is to review the way the 3 Area Boards (North, Central and South) will operate and we have just heard that the Council intends that ‘The draft Constitutions of the Area Boards will be determined by the Board members’ at this meeting. This is, in our view, far too soon. There has been no discussion on this crucial document and there are many institutional and practical deficiencies.

The Area Boards are the core Resident Engagement mechanism under the new structure that Lambeth Council has imposed on us. We, the LHA have assessed the proposals in the new Constitution and have found them deeply problematic. Key points are in the box below and more details in the next paragraph.

You can see the Council’s proposal and our objections in full on our website. In a nutshell, they are highly managed by Lambeth Council to stop us raising any issues of importance to us and membership is very tightly controlled in ways that will prevent many of us qualifying if we take issue with Lambeth Council bills or ways of operation. Further background can be found by following the links from our article The Rush to control Area Boards’ on the front page of our website.

We are concerned that the Council intends to try to force through a vote to endorse the Constitution on 4th December. We must not let them do this. The Constitution is very much against our interests.

If you agree with our critique please write to Mark Howarth (MHowarth@lambeth.gov.uk) and Sue Foster (sfoster1@lambeth.gov.uk) telling them:

  • that you object to the speed these important issues are being forced through;
  • that you object to the content of the current proposed Constitution; and
  •  that you support the LHA views on more equitable representation and a more considered, consultative approach in drawing up these key issues.

Contact us by clicking here or at: lambethhomeownerschair@gmail.com


AREA BOARDS
Our Objections: Some Key Points

  • The Constitution is totally non-democratic, TRA reps can’t even bring up issues from their own TRAs and no substitutes are allowed if a TRA nominated rep cannot make it
  • The Council are pulling all the strings. They set what the Board can do, and who can be on the Board
  • There is no scrutiny over the so called “pilot” structure and at the moment it is scheduled to continue indefinitely, ignoring it is an 18-month pilot.
  • The whole process is very rushed – short notice key document consideration and no discussion on when meetings might be held.
  • There is a token mention monitoring and evaluation, but nothing tangible, no criteria for evaluation and no specific timings when it will happen.

Lambeth Homeowners’ Association (“LHA”)

November 2017

Information guidance from the LHA Committee
Major works – Section 20 and Section 20B
As we all know, for much of the last few years residents of Lambeth have been having major works done to their properties. Had these works been done properly there would be no need for this note.

Regrettably, and demonstrated by the many communications that the LHA has been receiving, these works have been very badly procured, consulted and executed and despite the many complaints bills for huge sums have been landing on residents’ doormats.

What to do?

One route (and for many this may be necessary if you are to avoid paying the excessive service charges Lambeth is imposing on you to recoup the cost of the works) is to take the matter to the Tribunal and to face the daunting task of demonstrating the unreasonableness of the charges. This is a huge and difficult and stressful and time consuming and expensive process.

Which is why, if the facts fit there is another route. The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)[1] explains as follows:

‘Under Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, a landlord has 18 months within which to notify you of service charge costs being incurred or demand payment from you. If they fail to either notify you or demand payment within 18 months they will not be able to recover the charges from you.’

The courts have ruled that costs are “incurred” on the earlier of Lambeth paying for the works or Lambeth receiving an invoice for the works. Typically, it will be when Lambeth receive the invoice as it is very unlikely to pay before it gets the invoice. The section is quoted in full below.

“20B Limitation of service charges: time limit on making demands.

“(1)        If any of the relevant costs taken into account in determining the amount of any service charge were incurred more than 18 months before a demand for payment of the service charge is served on the tenant, then (subject to subsection (2) ), the tenant shall not be liable to pay so much of the service charge as reflects the costs so incurred.
“(2)        Subsection (1) shall not apply if, within the period of 18 months beginning with the date when the relevant costs in question were incurred, the tenant was notified in writing that those costs had been incurred and that he would subsequently be required under the terms of his lease to contribute to them by the payment of a service charge.”

Lambeth has already in some cases acknowledged that it “may” not have provided the necessary notification, which must be in writing.

So far as billing by Lambeth and notifications pursuant to section 20B(2) are concerned, reference needs to be made to the odd thing that Lambeth did some weeks or even a couple of months ago.

They, without any prior notification of any sort, suddenly added to the on-line accounts of many Leaseholders a lot of items which were evidently amounts that Lambeth decided were owing by Leaseholders in respect of the major works done to their block or estate or house.

Some Leaseholders noticed this and objected. It is not clear whether Lambeth have taken down these items which should not have been there as no invoice had been sent by Lambeth in respect of them. Clearly, they should not have been there. Many Leaseholders do not have access to their online accounts so will not have seen any entries that may have been made on their accounts. The point to note with regard to these entries is that they are not notifications for purposes of section 20B(2).

If you are considering making use of section 20B(2) or if you have other reasons for wanting not to pay or to pay less than the Lambeth invoice specifies and if you are needing to decide which payment option offered by Lambeth to use, then when notifying Lambeth of your chosen option you should do so under protest. If you have already notified Lambeth of your chosen option and did not do so under protest, you should now notify Lambeth of your protest.

Your protest might be along the lines of:

I am notifying you of my payment option but do so under protest as I consider the amount of your invoice to be excessive and also late as you have not complied with the time limits set out in Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. I accordingly reserve all my rights with regard to your invoice number [  ] dated [    ] 2017.

You should also write to Lambeth explaining both why you consider their invoice to be excessive for the works actually done and why you consider Lambeth to be timed out by section 20B. If you consider that you have a strong section 20B case you may initially want to focus on that, stating that you consider that Lambeth has neither invoiced you nor demanded payment within 18 months of Lambeth being invoiced by the contractor. You should also ask for copies of the Invoices that Lambeth received from the contractor. We would just warn you that Lambeth have in several cases failed to provide copies of the invoices. This is likely to be a long battle.

Whether a protest after choosing an option will work for you will depend on the option you have chosen and what you may have agreed with Lambeth about your chosen option. You may need some advice on this aspect and on other aspects. LEASE (see footnote below for information about them and click here to go to their website) are a good starting point. You will need to book a telephone appointment to speak to one of their advisers.

END

[1] On their website LEASE explain who they are as follows: “LEASE was set up in 1994 to provide free information, initial advice and guidance to members of the public about residential leasehold and park homes law. We have been providing this valuable service for more than 20 years. As the first point of contact for leaseholders, we are independent and impartial and all of our advisers are legally qualified.”


 

24 Nov 2017

Girls Friendly Society relaunches in Brixton

This is an article from the Brixton Blog: http://www.brixtonblog.com/girls-friendly-society-relaunches-in-brixton/48414

Girls Friendly Society (GFS) has recently re-launched its Brixton group for girls and young women at The Edmundsbury Estate Community Centre on Ferndale Road.

The group which opened its doors on Wednesday 8 November 2017, offers opportunities for young women aged 10-17 to meet new friends, take part in new activities and gain new skills.

Girls Friendly Society  was established in 1845 in partnership with the Anglican Church. It has a long  history  of providing opportunities for girls and young women since 1845 – with the first project starting in Brixton.

Girls Friendly Society leader Bryony LongBryony Long (right), the Brixton group leader said: “We brought the group back to our roots this year and have recently moved home! We are now based at the Edmundsbury Community Centre and run sessions every week on Wednesdays 5:30pm – 7pm (term-time only).

Bryony says she was inspired to volunteer by the women in her life – bosses, family members and friends – who have helped her grow. With her team of volunteers, she wants to support young women in the local community.

She said: “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a woman; strong female leaders and grassroots activists are campaigning against sexism, pay inequality and reproductive rights on a global scale.

“At GFS Brixton, we believe young women will change the world. We exist to provide a safe and fun space for girls to be themselves, make friends and to pass on the tools they need to grow to their full potential. We also have funding to support young women to receive a leadership award so it could make a huge difference in their lives”.

Find out more about GFS Brixton here.

24 Nov 2017

Edmundsbury Sunday Social

Bryony invited residents to come for a Sunday Social last week at the Duke of Edinburgh pub opposite. We had a great time, as you can see – and a good turn out. We all got to meet people we hadn’t met before, and got to know each other.

Everyone gave their mobile number to Bryony who has created a What’s App Group – so people can keep in touch and organise other social events. If you would like to be invited, join the What’s App group called ‘The Edmunds’ by What’s Apping Bryony Long (ask Jonathan for her number, as I don’t want to put it on a public website!).

24 Nov 2017

Residents Meeting: 7pm Monday 4th December 2017

Our next residents meeting is on Monday 4th December from 7pm-9m in the community hall.

All residents are warmly encouraged to come along and take part.

The draft agenda is on Google Docs – you can see it online here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XzZxjEME67TIdQyQcbQ0bUug6HaNp2V1Xd0BPT1X8rU/edit?usp=sharing

We are looking for a secretary, on the night, and for the next few months.

1. The TRA Secretary’s role is to take minutes (write and account of what everyone said at the Residents Meeting)
and then post it on this page and to our Facebook Group so all residents can see it.

2. Help organise the next residents meeting and AGM:
• asking people on our Facebook group if they have any ‘agenda items’
• putting up a poster 4 weeks before the next meeting
• setting up a Facebook event for the meeting
• typing up a final agenda and sharing it on this website and on Facebook
• recording and posting the minutes of the meetings

At the next meetings, we’ll also be asking people to do small tasks. So if anyone suggests anything we’ll decide what has to be done, and ask for people to complete the task over the next couple of weeks, and feedback to the chair, vice-chair or secretary.

 

Mince pies and mulled wine served.