Brixton homeowners voice their fears over major works

Linden Turvey - chairman of Brixton Leaseholders Forum

Anxious leaseholders came to a meeting of the Brixton Area Leaseholders Forum at Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, to voice their concern over the cost of building work.

About 40 homeowners, who had bought former Lambeth council properties, were in the audience yesterday for the AGM of the regular forum, overseen by leaseholder and chairman Linden Turvey.

Some were worried that that a five year plan to spend £370million refurbishing housing stock will leave them with crippling bills.

One resident said: “We have just had a £4,500 bill for electrical work, and my neighbour has been charged some £21,000 over eight years for just her flat.

“There are now five more years of work to be done, how much are we going to have to pay out? It seems to me we will just have endless bills. We can’t keep up with the payments,” she added.

The major works programme, part of the government’s decent homes scheme, will begin in April. Leaseholders and residents will hear from Lambeth Living next month, with more specific plans being announced in July.

Mike Edmunds, housing services manager at Lambeth Living, said people will be billed separately from their service charge, and will receive a detailed breakdown of the cost of the work.

He added: “At the moment we cannot be specific about details for the regeneration  work. We will be issuing estimates and bills at a much earlier stage than before and in much more detail.”

Resident leaseholders are given the option to pay the bill, interest free, over two years, or to choose a longer period and pay interest. Those owners who sub-let their ex-council home will have to pay the bill immediately.

People at the meeting also raised concerns over “awful” service received on the customer service helpline, which has recently been outsourced to a private firm Vangent. They said  calls go unanswered or operators are unable to help. Lambeth Living admitted there had been “training issues” with the switchover, saying the arrangement was only for a year.






  1. I just came out of a leaseholders “consultation” meeting for this major works programme. Lots of visibly upset people. Some people had bills for £40k+. Many seemed to have bills in 5 figures.

    All Lambeth are saying are:
    – We will take “observations”
    – We will not entertain any other building quotes other from our contractor Keepmoat
    – You won’t know how much the actual cost is until we’ve finished the works. All you have now is an “estimate” that can go up or down
    – We need to put expensive scaffolding up on most properties (running into thousands) so we can inspect the roof

    If anyone is organising a leaseholder group to fight this, let me know!

  2. I love Brixton and I love my flat but I may be forced to sell as I have been trapped by Lambeth’s council drive to gentrify the area at the expense of leaseholders. When I bought my flat, I was told I would only have to pay capital expenditure every 7 years. Then I found out my neighbour has been forced to pay £21,105 over the past 8 years, which took all her savings. She is now a pensioner and like me is living in dread of debts we will be forced into as a result of the incomprehensible and hugely expensive major works programme looming. We are already suffering from the economic downturn and do not want or need any more major works, starting with the £89,000 electrical rewiring that is going to cost us between £3,800 & £4,391 each according to the estimate. Given the council’s habit of charging well over their estimate, we don’t know how much this will actually cost and it is only the first step in their 5 year programme. Stop ripping us off, Lambeth!

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