On 10 December 2018 Larissa Reed, Executive Director for Neighbourhoods Communities & Housing appeared before this Select Committee as a result of written evidence submitted by leaseholders of council owned property in Brighton and Hove.
People feel they’re being scammed by a body they thought they could trust.David Croydon Leaseholder
Please watch and listen to Ms Reed’s “evidence” so you can judge it yourself.
For those of you that have not been following the story Leaseholders accused Brighton and Hove council of a scam over charges back in Sept 2016. Aggressive and costly legal action by the council against residents of the Bristol Estate closely followed. I (Steve Parry Chair) add a short note of the Select Committee below.
Ms Reed began by stating the only leasehold properties involving Brighton & Hove CC were RTB. [Incorrect – there are also 499 Seaside Community Homes Properties]
- Emphasised involvement of leaseholders through LAG and the joint working group [Is the credibility gained by the council justified given the reality of the level of influence?]
- Claimed to provide detailed information on costs but only if the information is requested
- Claimed bills are between £25,000 and £35,000 but later stated the highest was in the region of £37,000
- Claimed a recent tribunal Judgment (Bristol Estate) was that costs and service charges were justified and reasonable [Not true]
- Made a number of comments regarding different interests of “tenants” and “leaseholders” [The Housing Revenue Account is being plundered as well as the exploitation of leaseholders]
- Leaseholders were involved in choosing Mears [?]
- Leaseholders benefited from the rise in value as a result of major works [?]
- Accepted that some leaseholders were unable to sell their properties due to the cost of planned major works
- 500 disputes over 10 years with only 4 going to tribunal (?)
- Attempted to justify extra costs with “managing contractors” such as Mears
- Would like to see a shorter and specific time limit before the freeholder can go to tribunal
- Confirmed her statement that “The freeholder always wins”
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