Assistant Director, Barbican and Property Services to be heard.
The Assistant Director, Barbican and Property Services was heard in respect of service charge figures for Great Arthur House recladding works. Members noted that the outturn figure for the project, as of today, was £11.1m (£10m negotiated settlement for works). Members would receive a report of the City Surveyor at their next meeting, formally closing the project.
The Assistant Director advised that most residents had been visited in respect of the end of defects liability survey and there would be a further inspection on the external façade over the next two weeks. If Members were aware of any residents who had not been visited, they were asked to let the Assistant Director know as soon as possible.
Members noted that the City Corporation had lost its appeal against the decision of the First Tier Tribunal’s; i.e. - that leaseholders were not liable to contribute towards the cost of the recladding works. The City has applied to seek Leave to Appeal further. Members noted that Counsel’s opinion was that the City had strong grounds to appeal. There was some discussion about the level of legal fees, should the matter be escalated to the Supreme Court, and Members noted that it was unusual for these to be fully indemnified. Members were concerned at the impact on Leaseholders but, accepted that this was an aspect of Right to Buy Leases which had never been properly addressed.
Members were reminded that, given its wider significant impact, this matter was a responsibility of the Community and Children’s Services Committee (the Grand Committee of this Sub Committee). The Chairman and Deputy Chairman (of the Grand Committee) had been sighted on Counsel’s opinion and supported the decision to appeal. Members would receive a report as soon as possible on the next stages in the legal process, the legal costs to date and, Counsel’s estimate for potential future legal costs.
In the interim, Members noted that the service charge was being invoiced and collected but no action was being taken for non-payment. The City Solicitor had advised that it was a legal requirement to continue to collect service charges for this work, despite the legal proceedings, otherwise the City Corporation would forfeit the right to do so. The Assistant Director was not aware of how many residents had taken up the City’s offer of a loan but agreed to check (Post Meeting Note – 5 leaseholders had taken out a loan with the City) . Furthermore, as the final cost of the works had only just been finalised, the final bill to Leaseholders could now be confirmed.