Government puts limit on Council’s leaseholder charges

Cllr Spencer Drury, Parliamentary Candidate for Eltham has welcomed a new law that will cap the amount councils can charge leaseholders for future repairs to their homes.


Spencer has been campaigning on this issue for some time and has raised on numerous occasions the unfair way some of the poorest homeowners in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are overcharged by the Council.  The Conservative-led Government was prompted to change the law following numerous examples of councils issuing excessive and unfair repair bills to people who lease their home. In Greenwich, leaseholders at Strongbow Crescent have faced steadily increasing charges in recent years reaching over £1,000 recently for work which is widely viewed as sub-standard. This new law will mean that Council’s won’t be able to use leaseholders to raise substantial sums of money.


Councils and housing associations in London will now have to limit the amount they charge leaseholders for future major repair, maintenance or improvement work to £15,000 over a five year period. In addition, councils will now have to make clear what help is available for leaseholders who have to pay repair bills and offer affordable ways to pay these bills.


This comes alongside the £820 million we are spending to refurbish social homes across London which is making sure that more people are able to live in a good quality, safe home.


These changes are part of the Conservative Party’s wider plan to give greater protection to people who lease which includes requiring managing agents to join a redress scheme so people can get their complaints addressed; providing more information to people about what being a leaseholder involves; making it easier to find out the decisions made by Tribunals in housing disputes; and ensuring landlords give leaseholders realistic estimates of the cost of buying the freehold of their property.


Spencer said:


“I have been so worried by the excessive charges levied by Greenwich in areas across the constituency that I have been asking questions in public and private about the way bills are raised.  In my own ward, leaseholders in Strongbow Crescent have faced annual charges in excess of £1,000 on a regular basis, often for work of poor quality or which they doubt has ever been done.”


“I am absolutely supportive of the Conservative-led Government’s cap on charges for leaseholders, but frankly I think it should be lower still.  Quite often, residents who have bought their own Council flat are among the lowest earners in our community and they cannot afford the thousands of pounds which the Council is generating in extra charges each year.”