Council flat and contribution towards double glazing

by Readers Question

16:19 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Council flat and contribution towards double glazing

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Council flat and contribution towards double glazing

I own an ex council flat that I rent out which I had double glazed some years back. I’ve just received a letter from the council advising that they intend to replace the windows in my block (2 flats) but even if I’ve had mine done I will have to contribute according to how many properties there are in the block. Council flat and contribution towards double glazing

On this basis I seems that I’m being asked to contribute 50% (plus a 12.5% ‘management fee’) towards the cost of the new windows in the other flat, which is still owned by the council.

This doesn’t seem strictly fair to me but I’ve spoken to them and they are saying it’s in the lease I signed and basically, tough luck!

I could understand if it was say the guttering or roof etc. as we all enjoy the benefit but this seems wrong.

Any thoughts?

Mark Lynham



Comments

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

16:24 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

What does your lease say on this matter ? the devil is in the details......

Mark Alexander

16:28 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Mark

Fair and legal are often very different things.

If you want to fight this I suggest that at some point you may wish to ask a Barrister to take a look at the lease for you. See >>> http://www.property118.com/member/?id=1945

In the first instance though I'd probably just make a written complaint to the Council explaining as you have done here. When they write back to you keep escalating your complaint until you get the answer you want. With a bit of luck somebody may not fancy the hassle and hopefully it will get lost somewhere in the system.

I'd start the correspondence being very polite and then become more stern as the the matter escalates.

At some point, not too early in the process though, you might wish to mention that you will take this to the newspapers on the grounds that it's so unfair.

If and only if they resort to threatening legal action, that's the point I would write to them to say that you will seek legal advice too and hold them accountable for any costs.

Good luck and please let us know how you get on.
.

Mike McDonagh

16:28 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi, yes been there and got the scars. My experience is that most councils couldn't manage a pxxx up in a brewery, poor work at extortionate prices and you can't win because its all in the lease. You could challenge the lease on grounds of reasonableness or fairness but result is likely to be "you chose to sign it".
Sorry I can offer nothing better than pay up.
Best lesson is do not do any building improvements only internals then at least you get yours done...but probably at a greatly inflated price over what you paid.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

16:46 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

I own an ex local authority flat in a block of 6 - mine is the only one with original windows - and I was not forced to pay for others' new windows when the property was refurbed a few year back. Challenge them - what have you got to lose ?

Yvette Newbury

17:08 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

It seems as if you require further details from the Council on a) how they are calculating your contribution and b) whether your windows actually need replacing. As others have stated, your liability to contribute will be in the lease. With our ex-local authority flats we have to contribute even if we have replaced eg. windows ourselves - therefore we don't do it! We'd have to ask permission first to replace anything major in the flat, such as replacing windows, at which point they should forewarn you, but they have no obligation to. If your windows do not need replacing it just means the final bill for the whole block will be less, in which case your contribution will be less - but it will also be less for everyone making a contribution in your block. The Council should be calculating this expenditure EITHER on the number of bedrooms in your flat + other rooms OR one cost per flat regardless of size. You should therefore know on what basis you are being charged. The letter you received should be a Section 20 notice and provide you with lots of information on the tendering process, the final choice of contractor and likely costs etc. A particular procedure must be followed for a Section 20 so you can check that they have correctly followed this procedure in order to charge you for the work to the bloc. Hope this helps.

Michael Edwards

17:26 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

I'd ask them to quote the precise Clause/sub clause in the lease so that you can look at in detail and get a legal interpretation if it's meaning is not clear. As others have suggested you could ask them to outline the procedures then intend to follow and upon what formulae have they calculated your contribution.

Mark Alexander

17:49 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Edwards" at "29/05/2014 - 17:26":

If it's not clear there is an argument for the clause being contra proferentem - see >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contra_proferentem
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Laura Delow

18:53 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "29/05/2014 - 17:49":

Like many victims before me, I too have had this experience of having already had new double glazing installed to then find the council intended under a section 20 to do the whole block & asked me for 1/6th (block of 6). In the end I had to pay for 1/6th of everything except for the new windows themselves ie 1/6th scaffolding & management costs etc. However to receive the discount attributed to the actual double glazing itself, I had to i) prove expenditure ii) have it inspected to ensure it met their standards & would be in keeping with the other flats new windows yet to be done & iii) get retrospective planning permission approval. I then got agreement to pay the 1/6th balance interest free over 3 years. Having said this, a block of just 2 flats seems unfair to request you pay 50% of the other costs eg scaffolding, and as recommended by others before me, ask the Council to confirm the necessary clauses. My gut however tells me you will be caught out on this sadly. Good luck.

r01

19:01 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Of course, challenge them and try to get out of it by whatever means possible but my personal view is it depends if you were the one that bought the property from the council in the first place. If you did, you received a monumental discount on the purchase price as part of the right to buy and now make a very healthy profit on your rental as a result. If there is a clause requiring you to contribute to all repairs and renewals of the entire block clearly you should contribute as a result of the clause in the lease - that is assuming such a clause exists.

However, if you bought it subsequently, you should have been advised by your solicitor who is responsible for ensuring you know what your lease contains and what your liabilities & responsibilities are. If your solicitor failed to explain your lease you should go back to him or her and claim loss as a result of his or her negligence and try a claim against his or her professional indemnity insurance.

An agreement is an agreement... that's what a lease is - isn't it? People should read leases VERY carefully. Solicitors charge extra for leasehold transactions for this specific reason.

Mark Lynham

19:20 PM, 29th May 2014
About 5 years ago

hi, couple of points.. i didnt buy it from the council i bought it from the person who did, so didnt get a bargain. I've spoken to the council and they were very stern... 'its in the lease, theres two in the block so you pay 50%'... to be honest i didnt think there was much i could do but thought i would put it out there.. im even tempted to get them to fit new double glazing to mine as mine are Rosewood on the outsideto match the current windows around but i know for a fact that they will be putting white ones in so its all going to look rather odd.... thanks anyway guys and gals 🙂 i'll post any updates i get 🙂

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