Comments

DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Friday, 23 March 2018

EX KCTMO LEASEHOLDERS BEAR THE BRUNT


Dear Dame


Could you kindly publish the following excerpts and scan of page six of a six page letter dated 15th March 2018, received from Ex KCTMO operative, Assistant Director of Homeownership Daniel Wood, now operative of RBKC.  (please forgive any copy typo's).

Please kindly invite your readers to help us challenge this outrageous increase in Leaseholders Building Insurance which RBKC inform us they will send to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) under Section 27A Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, to determine whether these leasehold building insurance premiums have been reasonably incurred by the Council and accordingly, whether the individual premiums are properly payable by individual leaseholders.

Thank you for your continued support of all things good in RBKC and your tireless work to highlight the injustice and erosion of our environment and community.  
We are indebted to you.

With kind regards,

Your avid followers and admirers


Letter from Daniel Wood

15th March 2018

Dear Leaseholder

Your buildings insurance renewal for 2018/2019

I am writing to let you know, as early as possible, that your leasehold building insurance premium will be going up from 1 April 2018.  You pay for this in your service charge.

I understand this is frustrating news and I'd like to reassure you we're working harder than ever both internally and with our insurers to try to minimise the costs you pay but there are a number of unavoidable factors what have resulted in the increase.

Why is my Insurance cost rising?

The building insurance premium is going up by 85.56% (before Insurance Premium Tax - "IPT"), for the following three key reasons:

1.  The insurers, Ocaso, will see a significant and unprecedented loss in the 2017/18 policy year due to the Grenfell Tower fire and the leasehold units that were part of the tower.  This has therefore caused a major deterioration in the claims history for the policy and inevitably results in an increase to the 2018/19 premium being charged by the insurers.  The Grenfell Tower fire accounts for approximately 40.41% of your premium increase.

2.  The property sums insured: - on advice from the insurers, given the experience of the Grenfell Tower fire and the unanticipated potential costs that would apply to a future major fire in terms of a sustained need for alternative accommodation, complex demolition and site clearance costs, the current level of sums insured have been reviewed.  The sum insured is now going up to a maximum of £400,000 per property, other than for the very small number (24) whose sums insured is already above this. Your loss of rent or costs of alternative accommodation cover is also going up, to a maximum of £80,000 per property (currently £40,000 per property), or 33% of the property sum insured, whichever is greater.  This is to ensure you have adequate cover.  These charges are responsible for approximately 31.99% of the premium increase.

3.  The general cost of leaseholder building insurance is going up, particularly in central London, due to a number of factors.  For example, adverse weather conditions, a higher volume of "escape of water" claims, the cost of home repairs and like-for-like alternative accommodation continues to increase.  These factors have contributed to approximately 13.60% of the premium increase.  On page 6 of this letter is a summary of claims experience to date.  For comparison, the premium received by the insurers last year was £796,517.80 including IPT.  This demonstrates their losses.

Finally, IPT (which is tax set by the government) has doubled from 6 per dent to 12 per cent since 1 April 2016.

Can't you get a better price?

We last tendered the insurance contract in 2015, producing significant savings over the last two years.  Before IPT, the 2016/17 premium was a 34% saving on the 2015/16 premium and the 2017/18 was a 28% saving in comparison to 2015/16.

We've taken advice from our insurance brokers about getting a better price than Ocaso are offering.  Their advice is that re-tendering now is likely to result in even higher costs to leaseholders because of the Grenfell Tower fire a general increase in the overall value of claims made by the Council's leaseholders in recent years and current market conditions.

That said, and subject to advice from our insurance brokers, we would like to be in a position to re-tender the contract later this year, to ensure we are getting the best price reasonably obtainable.  We will write to your in the next few months with an update about the brokers' view of the current and, if appropriate, the approach we are considering for any tender exercise.

Is it reasonable to pass on increased leasehold building insurance costs arising from  theGrenfell Tower Tragedy?

In addition to the terrible loss of life and the ongoing suffering of all those affected by this tragedy, a number of leasehold flats were damaged by fire and the anticipated costs of this unprecedented event are reflected in the claims experience the appendix below (No included here).

Anticipating that variations of the question above will rightly be asked and reflecting the Council's commitment to openness and transparency, the council has decided to make a formal application to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) under section 27a Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.  We will be asking the Tribunal to determine whether these leasehold building insurance premiums have been reasonably incurred by the Council and - accordingly - whether the individual premiums (as set out in the table on the next page) are properly payable by individual leaseholders. (Table not added here)

To ensure that you have your say, we are proposing to make all leaseholders parties to this application.  This will enable you to take part in the Application if you so choose, with the result binding everyone (including the Council).  We will write to you again when the Application has been issued, with further information, and what you will need to do, to get involved.  We also confirm that the legal costs that the council will incur in making this Application will not be passed on to leaseholders.

How much will I be billed for?
Paragraph not included 

When will I receive my bill?
Paragraph not included 

How is the insurance purchased?
Paragraph not included 

How are the premiums calculated?
Paragraph not included 

Who can I speak to about this?
Paragraph not included 

Yours sincerely 

Daniel Wood 
Assistant Director of Homeownership

53 comments:

  1. You and everybody else must not be surprised that the insurers are raising their premiums. Why were insurers happy to insure buildings, some unfit for purpose; ie NOT fully complying with ALL fire/safety regulations/legislation? Greed and profit. Now, when the sh*t has hit the fan, they are complaining. Tough. Insurers everywhere will be looking very carefully at any future applications for insurance and hopefully the owners will ensure that their properties are fit for purpose.
    In respect of the letter, has RBKC sought insurance cover from competitors? Should be interesting to see any efforts to do so, trying to reduce the burden on leaseholders. It is a known fact that leaseholders have been treated with abject contempt by RBKC/TMO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strange Tory Council that promotes home ownership and treats its leaseholders with "abject contempt."24 March 2018 at 15:06

      Leaseholders were treated with "abject contempt" by Gordon Perry and Redmond Lee and by all other TMO Chief Executives and their Directors of Finance since the Perry - Lee demise.

      Delete
    2. Redmond Lee is the finance director at the TMO who got simple arithmetic wrong on the Lancaster West heating charges - way back. Exposed by Cllr Blakeman at a Housing scrutiny meeting.

      Delete
    3. Is Barbara Matthews is Finance Director?

      Delete
    4. Is Barbara Matthews now out on her ear with Jevans and Maddison?

      Delete
  2. Insurance premiums up by 85%!

    Another example of Councillors and Officers failing to understand that they have to manage the relationship between residents and costs. Dizzie Lizzy does not have the first clue and this vacuum has percolated down the organisation in Hornton Street.

    Uncaring and disinterested Council that is disconnected from residents.

    It is unacceptable for some pen pusher to send an email to say that insurance has increased by 85%. At a stroke. Wages do not increase by 85%. At a stroke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Dames Investigator24 March 2018 at 09:44

      It is not only insurance that Hornton Street is playing fast and furious with..

      For many years residents with Parking Permits who go away on holiday have been able to park in the Council Car
      Park at the Town Hall for £6.60 per day, for a minimum stay of 6 days. Expensive, but a hedge against the constant and growing parking suspensions which are impossible to anticipate and manage when abroad.

      The Council has just written to residents to say that the charge has increased to £12.50 per day (100% increase) and is now capped at 30 days. After which the daily charge of £25 will be applied. Not good news for senior citizens who go abroad for three months of the year.

      This is not the way to treat residents. Officers and Councillors could not care less.

      Delete
  3. Leaseholders should not be penalised for past failures of KCTMO property management which the caused death and destruction of Grenfell Tower.

    Leaseholders should not be asked to underwrite the cost of the damage and the rebuilding of Grenfell Tower, caused by KCTMO - as if our stress levels through their incompetence are not high enough already.

    WHY HAVE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES PUT UP THE COST BY 85% - IS IT BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE BUILDINGS ARE NOT BEING MAINTAINED ADEQUATELY, DO THEY ANTICIPATE MORE TRAGEDIES?

    WHAT IS THE COUNCIL'S CUT FOR MANAGING THE INSURANCE?

    An 85% increase in insurance cost will account for almost 50% of the estimated service charge 2018/19.

    Bearing in mind KCTMO over the years have wilfully neglected building stock (running it down to make it ripe for regeneration). Because of this here are many major works projects and repairs to do to the housing stock which are behind by several years - Any cost of major works is also passed on to leaseholders.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Henrietta Hardington24 March 2018 at 10:59

    This is disgraceful. 40% of the increase in Leaseholders' Insurance Premiums is directly attributable to the fire at Grenfell Tower which arises from TMO incompetence. So property owners will pay through their noses for KCTMO incompetence.

    Dent Coad will do nothing about it?

    Hands, the good Tory, should start making noises. Hands did a great job for the well heeled leaseholders in the Piper Building at Fulham. He repeatedly sent out a round robin email complaining about a Thames Water "stink hole:" under the noses of the great and the good one of whom, I believe, included Lord Brockett.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So the Council has referred this colossal increase in insurance premia to the Tribunal to determine the "reasonableness" of the charge being defrayed by all of its lessees under Section 27A of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. I suspect that the Council has had legal advice that they have a good chance of obtaining a declaration from the Tribunal that the charge is "reasonable."

    What concerns me most is that the Council will engage the best Barristers that money can buy to represent their position of passing on additional charges to leaseholders who are in no way responsible for the disaster at Grenfell Tower. (This is what economists call a "negative externality")

    WHO IS GOING TO REPRESENT LEASEHOLDERS' INTERESTS AT THIS HEARING. THE COUNCIL SHOULD MAKE MONEY AVAILABLE SO THAT LEASEHOLDERS CAN ENGAGE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL TO PROTECT THEIR INTERESTS AT THE TRIBUNAL.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shane: RBKC is of the opinion that leaseholders are rich enough to pay for their legal representation. AMEN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John Andrewartha24 March 2018 at 18:16

      How right you are Sad Badger. RBKC think leaseholders have a bottomless purse. It is ironic that the Council's Reserve Account contained one third of a billion pounds on the day that Grenfell Tower went up in flames and 71 people perished. The Council should pay from its reserves the additional sums being demanded by the insurers for its Leasehold properties without expecting Leaseholders to pay for TMO incompetence.

      Henrietta Hardington raises an interesting point. What are the Royal Borough's MP's doing about this? They should have spoken out about TMO incompetence before Grenfell. They both knew the TMO was not up to the job and they both defended it existence for different reasons.

      Delete
  7. @ Shane: Are you available to attend the tribunal with us?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shane is right. Leaseholders should get on to their Councillors and MP's to demand that the Council provides the funds so that leaseholders can collectively instruct a Barrister to represent them. This would probably mean devising some sort of committee overseen by MP's and a Councillor from all three political parties to make sure that the leaseholders' representative gets a cogent set of instructions.

      Delete
  8. @18:25 that sounds like a good plan. Already there are concerns about delays and time wasting tactics by RBKC.

    For example, this huge Insurance increase was discussed at a residents panel in early February, however letters were only sent out on 15th March prior to the estimated service charges being sent out on 21st March for billing to start on 1st April.

    Delays are an old tactic of KCTMO.

    The RBKC Homeownership Team is the same renamed KCTMO Homeownership Team: Daniel Wood, David Ward and Nizral Islam.

    Entrenched failure continues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Leaseholders, Don't get hanged up on the contract you have with RBKC. Leaseholders have been breaking it and getting away with it so why can't you? I believe RBKC treat everyone with the equal rights?

      Delete
  9. 18.43. Start contacting those Councillors who are standing for election again in May. Mobilise as many leaseholders as possible.

    There needs to be a skills' audit of the RBKC Homeownership Team. It is not fit for purpose because the people who work in it and run it are no good at their jobs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, dear - what's new... Are you trying to judge RBKC employees by their 'competence'? Well, I suggest you change your thinking cap....

      Delete
  10. 19:12 Absolutely right - are you a leaseholder planning to get involved by any chance?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Daniel Wood - passive , YES man,+ sheer incompetence

    ReplyDelete
  12. 20.24 The same can de said for David Ward although a little stroppier than Wood.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nizral Islam was a very bad experience - abusive in the extreme, we had to report him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you shop Nizral Islam to the Council or the TMO? Did he get away with being abusive to you? The TMO was dreadful at disciplining its staff.

      Delete
    2. He was reported to his line manager who said the issue would be brought up at his appraisal.

      Delete
    3. You report N Islam but nothing happens. He's got it covered for whatever reason. Anyone got dirt on him? Please share.

      Delete
    4. You were conned with their annual appraisal b*llocks. Yvonne Birch had responsibility for investigating complaints about stroppy members of staff. Your complaint should have been noted and referred to Mrs Birch for adjudication.

      Delete
    5. Discipline delayed is discipline denied26 March 2018 at 17:13

      RBKC / TMO staff stick together like glue. The "them and us" culture is alive and well in Kensington & Chelsea. If your complaint against Mr Islam was upheld, he should have been disciplined good and proper.

      Delete
  14. Bullying and rudeness are essential requirements for anyone wishing to work in Homeowner Services.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Are any leaseholders reading this, interested in meeting to discuss options to challenge the 85%+ insurance increase?

    ReplyDelete
  16. No one has a nice thing to say about Wood, Ward or Islam. I wonder why.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The flats at Grenfell Tower were woefully under-insured. This is an attempt to close the gate after the horse has bolted. And the self-referral to the Tribunal is a joke - they only self-refer when they already know they are going to win. This is what the TMO did on the notorious framework agreement. So all Council Tax payers are funding the Grenfell disaster but RBKC leaseholders are having to pay even more. No problem for the buy-to-letters but a disaster for those now very elderly people who believed the Thatcher assurances at the time of right to buy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You appear to agree with Shane who "suspected" that the Council had obtained legal advice indicating they had a reasonable prospect of obtaining a declaration from the Tribunal that the insurance charge is "reasonable." The "self referral" to the LVT by the former TMO Perry Regime was to obtain a dispensation to do away with some "consultation" requirements. The London Area Procurement Network never came to pass and framework agreements that resulted were the brain child of Gordon Perry who did not want to lose face with Tory Councillors that he had blown £ 500, 000 on a project which leaseholders of all participating Councils in London successfully resisted.

      Delete
  18. The West London Kremlin25 March 2018 at 11:09

    Kensington Town Hall is The Kremlin in London. For years the TMO steam rollered Council tenants and leaseholders with the approval of Tory Councillors. These Councillors will ensure that any uppity leaseholders are crushed.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I refer to the current framework agreement determined with the support of the Tribunal under Robert Black.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Does anyone have any practical advice or past experience of how to challenge this 85% plus increase on buildings insurance?

    Please help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the proverbial25 March 2018 at 12:34

      11.45 I think you are in the sh*t old boy. The Council claims that their Insurance Broker reckons that other insurers would offer cover with higher, more expensive, premiums.

      Delete
  21. Deaconess Evans.25 March 2018 at 12:44

    You're in the sh*t alright.

    There are 2000 Council leaseholders in Kensington & Chelsea. If 1000 of these leaseholders put £100 in the kitty, a small sum of money given the value of the flats they own, you would have a war chest of £100,000 to match any action the Council launched. The leaseholders would be able to obtain the best legal advice and even employ a Housing QC for the Tribunal. The trouble with Council leaseholders is they moan like hell, expect grants from the Council to mount legal challenges against the Council, and won't put their own money where their more than ample gobs are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leaseholders should beware that the decisions of Tribunals are never about justice, they are always about the law. The law and justice are not the same thing.

      That being so, does to mean that leaseholders should not fight the situation. To fight this effectively means fundraising in order to challenge the technical legal arguments that the Council are going to put before the Tribunal to get the decision they want. You have to mount any challenge in law on the same terms that the Council will put forward their case.

      Delete
  22. AN RBKC and TMO Swizz25 March 2018 at 21:56

    I don't think it's right that we should be made to pay extortionate insurance in our service charge bills when those who worked at the TMO and caused countless problems including Grenfell have had their financial interests protected. Before Yvonne Birch got shown the door the TMO Board topped up her Pension Pot with £11,000 so she got the same pension as if she worked until she was 60.

    Robert Black complained that the shortfall in his pension owing to his early departure from the TMO amounted to some 35% of the its value. No doubt some behind the scene deal has been done to make sure Black's financial interests are protected so that he enjoys a prosperous retirement. Who cares if leaseholders have to pay through the nose for their insurance as a result of TMO Executive incompetence.

    ReplyDelete
  23. When we heard from Doug that new insurance has risen to 86%, we fell of the chair. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sir Fred Goodwin of RBS was made to repay part of his pension pot to the bank when the failure of his leadership and work was judged in the Court of Public Opinion.

    We, Royal Borough leaseholders, must demand that the Birch woman repays the £11,000 that she got, for free, but did not earn.

    Any severance package paid to Black should be repaid in full.

    ReplyDelete
  25. @Judgement - sounds good, but who is going to enforce your plan?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Harriet Harman MP led a vociferous campaign in the media over Fred Goodwin's excessive pension pot.

    It is high time that our MP, Greg Hands, did the same over any TMO Executive getting a pension top up that they have not earned under their normal conditions of service starting with Ms Birch whose pension top up of £ 11,000 has been made public.

    ReplyDelete
  27. @Judgement - have you put pen to paper to let your local MP know where were are at with RBKC?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have written to Hands in the past never got a reply. Someone could try Dent Coad if they live in her constituency but she has not done very well so far.

      Delete
  28. Daniel Wood was defeated 10 y ago re Major Works compensation when residents visited Sir Malcolm R.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Jean Daintith, former RBKC Director of Housing, Health and Adult Social Care was sorted out when residents complained to Malcolm Rifkind. Hands and Dent Coad are lightweights compared to the great giant of politics, Sir Malcolm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, he may be a 'giant', but he selects whom he helps. Not quite democratic as you imagine, dear friend. He, as all the others, has a personal agenda.

      Delete
    2. At least Sir Malcolm took on the TMO and Jean Daintith head on. Emma Dent Coad served on the TMO Board for four years and supported housing management the TMO way. She was told that the TMO was a mess and she took no notice telling everyone what they should do. Like all middle class people she knew best. 71 people may not be dead today if she had listened and been different.

      Delete
  30. struth - dear readers - what a fantastic response. Obviously, matter close to your heart, or pocket books, maybe?

    ReplyDelete
  31. There is an article "Grenfell Fire Triggers Surge in Local Bills as Insurer Hikes Rates"

    (See page 47 of The evening Standard Business section this evening).

    The paper continues....

    "However, most costs arising from the disaster will be met by the Council's reserves. The borough has also set aside £5 million for legal bills arising from the tragedy as it faces a likely maelstrom of claims."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NO money can bring back those who perished in the modern day 'crematorium'.

      Delete
  32. It is highly unlikely that dear Kim, Will and Paul will be unseated by residents of their Ward. After all they represent the core values of the Ward's residents and that of RBKC Council, which are predominantly ultra right wing. No chance for them to be flushed down the sewer of ignominy.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are your responsibility. Anyone posting inappropriate comments shall have their comment removed and will be banned from posting in future. Your IP address may also be recorded and reported. Persistent abuse shall mean comments will be severely restricted in future.