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

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.”


 

12 Sep 2017

Paint the Blocks – this weekend!

On Saturday and Sunday the TRA needs YOU to volunteer to help us paint the Blocks.

We are painting the exterior masonry blue paint.

TRA volunteers will attempt to paint the ground floor on Saturday and Sunday 16th & 17th September. We shall be supported by two professional painters who will direct us in how to rub down and clean the areas as well as paint. A jet-wash has been booked for this week for the ground floors.

If you have a balcony, then the TRA can give you the blue paint and instructions (if needed) to do it yourself. If you are unable to paint your balcony by yourself, please let the TRA know, and we’ll put together a booking sheet for people who require assistance – and if we have enough volunteers, we’ll come around and paint your balcony.

We’ve matched the blue paint – so if some people paint their balconies and others don’t – then it won’t stand out as much as if we chose a different colour.

We also have some fire-retardant cream paint for the corridors – not enough to repaint the whole communal areas, but if you have a particularly bad wall or area, we can provide paint or touch it up for you.

We asked the Council if they scheduled painting, and they said there is no longer a percentage of your service charge that goes into regular redecoration. If they painted the flats for us, they would charge us (and their service charges are sometimes more expensive than hiring contractors yourself).

Please – we need as much support as possible to get these flats looking nice. The posters have been up in every block for a month – so everyone has been informed. If you can’t make this weekend, but can do next weekend or the weekend after – then please contact the TRA as we may be able to put another group together. This is something that will benefit everyone, and even an hour or two from everyone will really help.

29 Jun 2017

Leaseholders: Register with Leaseholder Council Exec

Dear Fellow Leaseholders and Freeholders

This is important for you in a number of ways, including financially and our ability to communicate.

We are your representative body for all Leasehold (Homeowner) issues including Major Works, Service Charges, Insurance etc elected from Area Forums. You will be aware of the importance of these items involving thousands of pounds of your money. There are a number of current and future major issues affecting you.

Lambeth have agreed to circulate this letter to you: we are asking you to provide us with your email address so we can communicate with you directly.

We urge you, therefore, to:

• email us, the Leasehold (Homeowners) Council Executive, from the address you would like to register with us;
• give us your authority to store your email address and communicate with you;
• with your email your full name and your address

We will not share your information with anyone outside Leasehold Council Executive or the Area Council Executive (if one is formed) and it will be used only for the purpose of communicating with you about Housing or related issues.

Our email address to register with us is: lambethhomeownerschair@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you.

Shemi Leira
Chair

15 Jun 2017

Fire safety message on behalf of Neil Wightman

15th June 2017

Dear Resident,

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington on Tuesday night, I am writing to you as a resident of one of Lambeth’s residential tower blocks, to give an update of the current situation and to reassure you that the safety of our residents, staff and visitors in Lambeth is given the highest priority.

Firstly, I want to confirm to you that all Lambeth Housing structures have an up-to-date fire risk assessment. There are a range of actions required as a result of the assessments which are being followed up – and blocks are being prioritised.

I chair a fortnightly Health & Safety meeting which monitors the action plan and reviews fire risk and I also met with the Health & Safety team following the Grenfell fire, to discuss further actions including reviewing blocks, which have similar designs to Grenfell. I will also be meeting the London Fire Brigade to discuss evacuation procedures and ensure notices in blocks are renewed or updated where required.

As more is known about the cause of the fire in Kensington, lessons will be learnt and good practice will follow, which will be reviewed alongside Lambeth procedures. In the meantime please help to keep you and your neighbours safe by:

  • Making sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home
  • Keeping balconies free from clutter
  • Not leaving rubbish or bikes in communal areas or obstruct escape routes
  • Making sure you know where your nearest fire exit is, and
  • If you are a smoker please do not smoke in common areas of the block and always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely

If you have any questions or concerns about fire safety within your block or home please do not hesitate to contact your local housing office or the HM Fire Safety Department at Lambeth (Email : HMfiresafety@lambeth.gov.uk) alternatively you may wish to contact the London Fire Brigade on 0800 028 44 28 who are able to undertake Home Fire Safety Visits. We have included a leaflet on home fire safety produced by the fire brigade.

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Lib Peck, has issued a statement following the Grenfell fire, which can be seen online at love.lambeth.gov.uk/grenfell-tower-fire.

Yours faithfully

Neil Wightman

Director of Housing Services
London Borough of Lambeth Housing Services 1st Floor Blue Star House, 234-240 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SP

Download the LFB Fire Safety Poster here: Fire (PDF)

10 May 2017

Housing Surgeries

Samantha Stewart, our housing officer, will be holding weekly surgeries in the kitchen of the Community Hall for anyone with complaints, concerns and suggestions about their homes or the estate.

The dates are:
Wednesday 5 July 10am-1pm
Wednesday 12 July 10am-1pm
Wednesday 19 July 10am-1pm
Wednesday 26 July 10am-1pm
Wednesday 9 August 6:30-8pm
Wednesday 9 August 10am-1pm

Please come along – no need to book.

18 Jan 2017

Central Area Housing Office moving to Olive Morris House

The Central Area Housing Office will be relocating from Greenleaf Close and services will no longer be provided at this location from Friday 3 February 2017.

 From Monday 6 February 2017 our front counter services will be provided from Olive Morris House, 18 Brixton Hill, SW2 1RD from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Here’s an updated list of the contacts in the Central Area division: Central-Area-Contacts-17012017