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Hackney leaseholders win the right to have their say on home repairs

PUBLISHED: 09:00 26 July 2013

Hackney leaseholders win vistory. Rachel Blain right foreground. Picture by Tony Gay

Hackney leaseholders win vistory. Rachel Blain right foreground. Picture by Tony Gay

TONY GAY at tonephote@aol.com

Campaigning residents are celebrating after they won a landmark ruling to choose which companies carry out major works on their homes.

Leaseholders in Hackney took the council to court in a David versus Goliath legal battle after the council announced plans to get legal dispensation to enter into a long-term contract with its own arms-length management organisation Hackney Homes Limited (HHL) to repair and decorate the borough’s homes for three years.

The residents, who own the lease to their council homes and pay for any work ordered for their buildings by the council, raised £4,800 so that their right to have a say on who does work to their homes was not eroded.

An eight-month battle ended last Friday when the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal wrote to residents saying that their case was successful.

In the letter, Andrew Dutton, tribunal chairman, said: “We are not wholly convinced that this one-size-fits all arrangement is in the leaseholders’ interest – it seems to us that on the evidence produced by the council those close ties between the council and HHL are wholly apparent and could justifiably give concern to leaseholders that they were not being dealt with on a proper arms-length basis.”

Rachel Blain, a charity worker and spokeswoman for the leaseholders, said: “We are delighted that the tribunal found in favour of Hackney Council leaseholders.

“It was a true community effort to raise the thousands we needed to fight our landlords’ application to side-step the legislation that protects us.

“The decision ensures that the process of procuring services to maintain council properties remains fair and transparent in Hackney and other boroughs.”

Journalist Patrick Welch, 31, said: “I’m really delighted with how it turned out.

“At one stage it looked like we were doomed.

“It was a group of householders who did not know each other versus Hackney Council who had infinite amounts of money.”

‘Disappointed’

Cllr Philip Glanville, cabinet member for Hackney Homes and Regeneration Estates, said: “We are naturally very disappointed with the decision reached by the tribunal. Throughout this process we have sought to find the best possible deal for Hackney’s tenants and leaseholders on both quality and price.

We remain committed to delivering high quality and efficient services in consultation with all our residents.”


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