STRENGTH in NUMBERS – BE LEASE-AWARE Independent Group Representing Leaseholders

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – BE LEASE-AWARE Independent group representing leaseholders in the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust Officers: Chair (acting): Keith Nials; Vice: vacant. Secretary: James Weston; Vice: Alison Philpot Treasurer: Rachel Webber; Vice: vacant. VAHT Board LH rep.: Christine Campbell PO Box 898 AYLESBURY HP20 9FG Committee Meeting 1st October 2009 at 6.45pm for 7pm start. Eskdale Road Community Centre, Stoke Mandeville Committee Members present: Claire White; Denise Key; David Hil
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    STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – BE LEASE-AWARE Independent group representing leaseholdersin the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust   Officers: Chair (acting) : Keith Nials; Vice : vacant. Secretary : James Weston; Vice : Alison Philpot Treasurer : Rachel Webber; Vice : vacant. VAHT Board LH rep. : Christine Campbell Web E-mail Tel 07531 846 816 p 1 of 5 PO Box 898AYLESBURYHP20 9FG Committee Meeting 1 st October 2009 at 6.45pm for 7pm start.Eskdale Road Community Centre, Stoke Mandeville Committee Members present: Claire White; Denise Key; David Hillier; PaulBaker; Michael Young; Pam Rae; Jenny Ford; Christine Campbell; Rachel Webber;Alison Philpot; James Weston. 1.   Welcome, introductions & apologies 1.1.   Keith Nials is on holiday.1.2.   Andy Cluett sent his apologies that he will no longer be able to attendmeetings regularly now that he starts college in Loughborough.1.3.   Mike Gaisford sends his apologies.1.4.   Paul Baker arrived slightly late after leaving a voice message earlier sayingthat he would not be able to attend. 2.   Minutes of meeting – 30th July 2009 2.1.   CC went through the minutes of the previous meeting in Keith’s absence and joked about point 3 of LRG meeting numbers being low. 3.   Matters arising 3.1.   MY says point 7.1 should be that the minimum target is 95% not that they’vegot 95%3.2.   JF gave a new e-mail address for committee minutes and agendas 4.   Correspondence received 4.1.   RW spoke to John White about a matter of payment. JW really misses theLRG and sends us all his best wishes. He’s still poorly and not recovered fromseveral strokes.4.2.   JW read out an email from Pauline Williams of Hartwell End Aylesbury aboutbroken windows due to stones thrown. The VAHT said it’s covered bycontents, not buildings insurance. All agreed here that broken windows iscovered by buildings insurance.4.2.1.   CC believes KN phoned and spoke to her.    STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – BE… LEASE-AWARE  Independent group representing leaseholdersin the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust   Web E-mail Tel 07531 846 816 p 2 of 5 4.2.2.   CC asks has anyone ever had a policy doc for the new insurance? It’ssupposed to be like-for-like insurance since the change.4.2.3.   No one was certain that they’d received any policy docs.4.3.   Ricky James contacted us by email after he tried to contact the Trust to updatehis heating system (at his own cost of course). CC and KN spoke to himsaying he shouldn’t have contacted the Trust because it’s complicated things.The VAHT made up that if he didn’t get the permission (they wanted about£170 in admin fees) it might complicate a future sale of his house.4.3.1.   All recounted stories of how the Trust will take any opportunity tocharge an admin fee regardless of whether it is warranted or not.4.3.2.   AP says it does highlight an issue that the VAHT is almost certainly inbreach of some guidelines in fairness. The VAHT is taken advantage of people who are too honest.4.3.3.   CC focused on one LH who’d not received a Section 20 notice andreturned home one day to find scaffolding outside his home. After lots of to-ing and fro-ing with the Trust he caved in and paid the £1000-odd theywanted for the scaffolding erection and removal! The VAHT is justwalking all over the people it serves. 5.   Board meeting feedback 5.1.   CC has missed a couple of Board meetings. However, from last Thursday’sCC has a list of complaints that were brought up in it. Couple of people on theBoard were complaining as to the state of the information in the agenda. SueBailey said the information about the complaints was too vague—just a bunchof figures—like dates and response times.5.1.1.   RW pointed out that one “complaint number” was   CC said it could include tenants complaints too.5.1.3.   RW says once we find out actual figures of complaints we can see howmuch we should really be charged for “management”.5.2.   CC One complaint was about a LH who did not want to pay groundsmaintenance. Board members would suggest an informal meeting with LHs todiscuss the position, but we think the VAHT will say, you’ve just got to pay it.5.2.1.   CC said there was another case about lack of action regarding anti-socialbehaviour. Case ongoing but being dealt with under ASB procedures.   RW said the Trust never got back to her about ASB figures in2008/09. RW has a feeling ASB was not up and running in 2007/085.2.2.   CC says another LH complains about rubbish in communal area.Customer relationship manager visited and arranged for caretaker’sthorough clean and replacement of a door lock.   CW says a complaint she passed on to Graham Bell has still notbeen dealt with.5.2.3.   CC says the final complaint resulted in everything being okay.    STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – BE… LEASE-AWARE  Independent group representing leaseholdersin the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust   Web E-mail Tel 07531 846 816 p 3 of 5 5.3.   CC says Audit Commission has done a report, 44 pages! It’s available from itswebsite. VAHT got a ‘fair’ one-star service overall, with ‘promisingprospects for improvement’. Based on two key questions: how good is theservice; and what are prospects for improvement.5.3.1.   CC read out the ‘edited and watered down’ version which was given tothe Board.5.4.   AP printed out the conclusion and scoring pages of the report which goes intomore detail with more damning stuff. AP read out some points.5.4.1.   JW I will put up a summary of actual report on website [Action JW] .5.5.   CC summarised meetings that the LRG Officers have recently started at theVAHT’s Fairfax office with Evonne Hudson and Graham Bell.5.5.1.   CC says EH put me in the Terms of Reference as a VAHT Boardmember, but I wanted to attend the meetings as a LH. CC wrote a longletter to the Trust about her dismay.5.5.2.   CC says EH also offered to let officers have a tour of Fairfax house. CCwanted other committee members to attend but EH felt this would be a‘security risk’. EH is (e-mail sent on 24 th , copied in Officers) 6.   Finance update 6.1.   RW and AP have been trying to set up a date with EH. Cancellations havebeen on both sides so it’s difficult at the moment. The meeting would be todiscuss the LRG’s funding and how we move forward. EH has severalconditions the LRG must meet before we get funding.6.1.1.   RW feels that some of these conditions are very restrictive. For example,RW doesn’t think they should see bank statements and has said that theLRG will have its accounts audited independently. EH sent a schedulewith several deadlines; any not met will result in no funding for that year.This is not really ‘working together’ considering we are volunteers whodon’t have lots of time to commit to meet deadlines. RW wrote back aletter of objection to several of EH’s demands and deadlines.6.1.2.   DK said that CC mentioned before it’s not a VAHT grant but agovernment grant?6.1.3.   CC the VAHT will not confirm where the grant comes from6.1.4.   RW says I have to go to the relevant government department to ask.I’ve made several points of correspondence in order to obtain thisinformation but cannot get anywhere with the EH or anyone at the Trust. 7.   Groups / project feedback 7.1.   MY handed out a sheet with summary of meetings7.2.   CC thinks that KN should go to KLOE 12 on 28 th October: Management of Leasehold & Shard Ownership Property. [Action: CC]    STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – BE… LEASE-AWARE  Independent group representing leaseholdersin the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust   Web E-mail Tel 07531 846 816 p 4 of 5 7.3.   MY said Ian Silver said most complaints were about state of repairs, butnothing really about service charges. Gasps all round.7.4.   CC the VAHT wants you to go through the ‘complaints procedure’ but noteveryone does that. But in contradiction to this, the latest Newsletter, about tobe released, invites complaints by any medium, even text message!7.5.   CW went through the complaints procedure on the VAHT’s website but hasnot had anything back, not even an acknowledgement. 8.   Letter to all Leaseholders 8.1.   AP says following new monthly meetings between LRG officers and VAHTEH & GB, we are due to be putting together a letter with the VAHT that isinviting LHs to opt out of the VAHT giving all LHs’ addresses to the LRG.8.1.1.   CC says this is what we asked for the first time, but the Trust did it theother way around where LHs had to respond to the letter to opt in.8.1.2.   JW people are more likely to respond if it’s a case of opting out.8.2.   CC read out some notes as to what she would like in the letter. Discussionensued about its contents.8.2.1.   CW we should be careful not to come across as too aggressive; peoplecould shy away from being involved with LRG.8.2.2.   CC and all agreed.8.3.   All happy with the letter to go out.8.4.   AP says I will type it up on LRG headed paper. [Action AP] 9.   Questions for next LRG/VAHT meeting 9.1.   CC if the LRG officers meet with the VAHT reps again, is there anything youwould like us to raise?9.2.   CC We’re on the verge of finalising a LH survey form/procedure. Officerswent on a mock survey to see how the form worked. After this the form wasrevised and adapted.9.3.   CC read out a list of proposed questions for next meeting9.3.1.   CC When is survey going to take place and are we going to be charged,because, if LHs will be charged, we have it in a previous set of minutesand an MP candidate witness that GB said LHs would not be charged for asurvey.9.3.2.   CC Terms of Reference on CC’s reason for being at those meetings.9.3.3.   CC Is the estimated ‘invoice’ that goes out in July againstguidelines/regulations?9.3.4.   CC Leasehold handbook: is it a working document or not?9.3.5.   RW Discuss finance options9.3.6.   AP Where are insurance policy documents?9.3.7.   RW Why was there no consultation before final bills went out?
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