West Hendon Estate householders forced to pay £10,000 for repairs on flats due for demolition

Times Series: Adam Langleben and Dr Devra Kay with the neighbours Adam Langleben and Dr Devra Kay with the neighbours

Tenants have condemned “ruthless” housing chiefs for forcing them to pay £10,000 each for renovations - two years before their flats are due to be bulldozed.

Leaseholders on the West Hendon Estate are embroiled in a row with Barnet Homes, which is refusing to waive charges for the repairs.

Residents in Tyrell Way and Marsh Drive will be moved out of their homes in the next two to six years to make way for 2,000 new flats as part of the West Hendon Regeneration project.

But the 110 residents have taken a defiant stance against the costs, which they could still be paying off long after the blocks have been demolished.

Glynnis Walker is campaigning against the charges on behalf of her frail mother, 84-year-old Adelaide Adams, who lives in Tyrell Way.

She said: “She can’t pay it. It’s extortion - how dare they? They should be ashamed of themselves. It’s nothing short of a disgrace.

“They are ruthless and they don’t care about all the stress they are putting these people through. It is heartbreaking to see how miserable everyone is because of this.”

Barnet Homes has offered a 24-month payment plan which would see residents pay £450 per month - similar to the cost of many of their monthly mortgage repayments.

The organisation has offered people the chance to spread the repayments over ten years, with interest.

All the homes are subject to a compulsory purchase order, meaning householders are banned from selling their properties.

Jacqueline Parsons, 72, said: “It is nothing shot of thievery. We are not paying it. We just don’t have that kind of money.

“I am stressed. I am not sleeping and I am constantly worried. It’s put a lot of pressure on me - I feel miserable.”

One 94-year-old woman on the estate has been diagnosed with cancer, and has been left petrified of being in severe debt.

Carmen Perrott, 54, lost her husband unexpectedly five years ago and has been trying to rebuild her life after a bout of depression.

The mother-of-two’s eldest child recently suffered a breakdown and her youngest son, 19, is saving up to go travelling - and eventually for a mortgage of his own.

She said: “Where am I supposed to shell out this money from? I am not on benefits. I was so happy when I paid off my mortgage a few years ago, and now this.

“I feel like I’m sinking back deeper and deeper into a depressive state.”

The repairs, which are supposed to have a 25-year life span, will cost £3.5million in total and will pay for costs to electrical repairs, asbestos removal and fixing lifts in the blocks.

Labour councillor candidates Adam Langleben and Dr Devra Kay protested with residents during a payment advice surgery yesterday.

He said: “Not many people have £10,000 lying around in their back pocket and they will only see around six years usage of it. It’s wrong on so many levels.”

Barnet Homes said in a statement that the wiring in the blocks is in a “state of disrepair” that poses a serious health hazard.

A spokesman said: “The anticipated life expectancy of such works would normally be around 25 years, although this does not constitute a guarantee that they would last this length of time.

“It is not intended that any of the leaseholders who will be affected by these works will be moved out next year.

“The works are essential and the fact that the properties are due for demolition does not affect the cost of delivering them.

“Under the terms of the lease the leaseholders are required to contribute the percentage defined within the lease towards the costs.

“However, Barnet Council is looking at options to reduce the value recharged to the leaseholders to reflect the fact that the leaseholders will not get the full benefit of the works.”

Comments (10)

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10:07pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Don't Call Me Dave says...

Has Barnet Homes conducted a 'Section 20' consultation? If not, residents cannot be charged more than £250 each for any work undertaken.

If a consultation has taken place, residents can still take the landlord to the Residential Property Tribunal, who will adjudicate as to whether the proposed charge is fair or equitable.

A question which needs to be answered is why the property was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair. If Barnet Homes failed to maintain to a reasonable standard over a period of many years, then residents have a strong case against the imposition of such a massive charge, irrespective of how long it will be before the building is pulled down.
Has Barnet Homes conducted a 'Section 20' consultation? If not, residents cannot be charged more than £250 each for any work undertaken. If a consultation has taken place, residents can still take the landlord to the Residential Property Tribunal, who will adjudicate as to whether the proposed charge is fair or equitable. A question which needs to be answered is why the property was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair. If Barnet Homes failed to maintain to a reasonable standard over a period of many years, then residents have a strong case against the imposition of such a massive charge, irrespective of how long it will be before the building is pulled down. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: 12

11:58am Sat 1 Mar 14

mallowe says...

One thing is clear, Barnet Homes is terrified of legal action, the courts and will attempt to settle. However, it is perfectly clear that they have also got most if not all the Legal Aid lawyers in their pockets so this is not an option Good Luck!
One thing is clear, Barnet Homes is terrified of legal action, the courts and will attempt to settle. However, it is perfectly clear that they have also got most if not all the Legal Aid lawyers in their pockets so this is not an option Good Luck! mallowe
  • Score: 4

8:59pm Sat 1 Mar 14

james smyth says...

Don't know what the residents expect?
If Barnet don't fix the lifts the residents complain , if they fix them the residents still complain.
Your lucky you have got somewhere to live!
Don't know what the residents expect? If Barnet don't fix the lifts the residents complain , if they fix them the residents still complain. Your lucky you have got somewhere to live! james smyth
  • Score: -9

9:20am Sun 2 Mar 14

Barnet Parker says...

Interesting that Cllr Sodha has not made a comment on this. I wonder if she thinks it demonstrates the Tory values of fairness for the hard working families she represents - the reason she gave for defecting to support the ruling administration.

Why should these families who've worked hard to cover their mortgages pay for asbestos removal to make life easier for the council's demolition teams in a couple of years. All so the Tories can achieve their stated ambition of moving them out and replacing them with Russian oligarchs.
Interesting that Cllr Sodha has not made a comment on this. I wonder if she thinks it demonstrates the Tory values of fairness for the hard working families she represents - the reason she gave for defecting to support the ruling administration. Why should these families who've worked hard to cover their mortgages pay for asbestos removal to make life easier for the council's demolition teams in a couple of years. All so the Tories can achieve their stated ambition of moving them out and replacing them with Russian oligarchs. Barnet Parker
  • Score: 12

3:31pm Sun 2 Mar 14

derrickchung says...

These homes were deliberately allowed to decline into state of disrepair by the Labour administration and now by the Tory admin. The excuses supported by a written Pledge was to demolish the homes and replace by "Affordable like for like homes" an increase from approximately 680 units t0 2149 units, except this turned out to be a substantial loss of council homes to accommodate luxury apartments, with the residents all facing home losses. Failure to pay these charges could mean a breach of the lease agreement and a possible court action. The mere mention of CPOs, ground 10a enforcement, and the £10K demand is like holding residents to ransom where choice is not an issue. This scheme puts all homes at risk. Those willing to claim the Fame for regeneration should be willing to share the Shame for making anyone here homeless
These homes were deliberately allowed to decline into state of disrepair by the Labour administration and now by the Tory admin. The excuses supported by a written Pledge was to demolish the homes and replace by "Affordable like for like homes" an increase from approximately 680 units t0 2149 units, except this turned out to be a substantial loss of council homes to accommodate luxury apartments, with the residents all facing home losses. Failure to pay these charges could mean a breach of the lease agreement and a possible court action. The mere mention of CPOs, ground 10a enforcement, and the £10K demand is like holding residents to ransom where choice is not an issue. This scheme puts all homes at risk. Those willing to claim the Fame for regeneration should be willing to share the Shame for making anyone here homeless derrickchung
  • Score: 5

11:06pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Mr. Datchery says...

james smyth wrote:
Don't know what the residents expect?
If Barnet don't fix the lifts the residents complain , if they fix them the residents still complain.
Your lucky you have got somewhere to live!
As soon as I read this headline I knew without looking that one of this websites little reactionary trolls like 'james smythe' or 'harvey_uk' would pitch in on the side of whoever most reasonable people would regard as the villains of the piece.I'm pleased to see I wasn't wrong.
[quote][p][bold]james smyth[/bold] wrote: Don't know what the residents expect? If Barnet don't fix the lifts the residents complain , if they fix them the residents still complain. Your lucky you have got somewhere to live![/p][/quote]As soon as I read this headline I knew without looking that one of this websites little reactionary trolls like 'james smythe' or 'harvey_uk' would pitch in on the side of whoever most reasonable people would regard as the villains of the piece.I'm pleased to see I wasn't wrong. Mr. Datchery
  • Score: 6

3:33pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Rosemary75 says...

Absolutely Outrageous! Why were on earth were the properties not maintained in the first instant? It seems to me that the responsibilty & the expense for these repairs lies soley with, Barnet Homes.
Absolutely Outrageous! Why were on earth were the properties not maintained in the first instant? It seems to me that the responsibilty & the expense for these repairs lies soley with, Barnet Homes. Rosemary75
  • Score: 9

7:49pm Mon 3 Mar 14

MichelleL74 says...

£10,000??!! This is so appalling, I can't believe what I'm reading. Tory councillors seem to live in a parallel universe of wealth, privilege and arrogance. Having attended several meetings over the years, it's obvious just from listening to their comments and responses to members of the public that most have zero concept of how the majority of people actually live. Please members of the council, please see sense and stop this now.
£10,000??!! This is so appalling, I can't believe what I'm reading. Tory councillors seem to live in a parallel universe of wealth, privilege and arrogance. Having attended several meetings over the years, it's obvious just from listening to their comments and responses to members of the public that most have zero concept of how the majority of people actually live. Please members of the council, please see sense and stop this now. MichelleL74
  • Score: 9

10:28pm Mon 3 Mar 14

nlygo says...

you should go and live in southwark where draper house has been covered with scaffolding and netting for the past two years, and the leaseholders have had to pay £35,000 for this privilege

tory council in southwark? actually, no.

http://www.london-se
1.co.uk/news/view/66
47
you should go and live in southwark where draper house has been covered with scaffolding and netting for the past two years, and the leaseholders have had to pay £35,000 for this privilege tory council in southwark? actually, no. http://www.london-se 1.co.uk/news/view/66 47 nlygo
  • Score: 0

9:09pm Tue 4 Mar 14

You don't fool me says...

Mr. Datchery wrote:
james smyth wrote:
Don't know what the residents expect?
If Barnet don't fix the lifts the residents complain , if they fix them the residents still complain.
Your lucky you have got somewhere to live!
As soon as I read this headline I knew without looking that one of this websites little reactionary trolls like 'james smythe' or 'harvey_uk' would pitch in on the side of whoever most reasonable people would regard as the villains of the piece.I'm pleased to see I wasn't wrong.
You are absolutely correct Mr Datchet, as soon as I see those two Tags I know there is no need to read their posts. Don't feed the Trolls.
[quote][p][bold]Mr. Datchery[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]james smyth[/bold] wrote: Don't know what the residents expect? If Barnet don't fix the lifts the residents complain , if they fix them the residents still complain. Your lucky you have got somewhere to live![/p][/quote]As soon as I read this headline I knew without looking that one of this websites little reactionary trolls like 'james smythe' or 'harvey_uk' would pitch in on the side of whoever most reasonable people would regard as the villains of the piece.I'm pleased to see I wasn't wrong.[/p][/quote]You are absolutely correct Mr Datchet, as soon as I see those two Tags I know there is no need to read their posts. Don't feed the Trolls. You don't fool me
  • Score: -1

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