Pickles caps leaseholder repair bills at £10,000

12 Aug 14
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed that new limits will be placed on how much councils and housing associations can charge leaseholders for repair work.

By Richard Johnstone | 13 August 2014

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed that new limits will be placed on how much councils and housing associations can charge leaseholders for repair work.

The restriction, which Pickles first announced last October, will limit the charges to £10,000 in any five-year period, although a larger £15,000 limit will apply in London.

Pickles proposed the regulations after he was made aware of the case of a 93-year-old constituent Florence Bourne, who received a £50,000 roof repair bill from the London Borough of Newham for her home, on which she was the leaseholder.

It was later found that the council’s fee was not based on a proper survey and the roof would have lasted another 40 years.

Bourne later died, which her family said was ‘of shame’ in response to the bill that she feared she could not afford for work on her Brentwood home.

Under the regulations, which will take effect this week, councils and housing associations will be limited when repairs, maintenance or improvement works are wholly or partly funded by the government. Any shortfall will need to be met by the authorities themselves.

‘I was appalled at Florence’s treatment and was determined that no other leaseholder should ever have to endure the stress and hardship she experienced in the final weeks of her life,’ Pickles said.

‘Charging excessive amounts for council house repairs not only targets some of the most vulnerable people in society, it can amount to a failure in a local authority’s duty of care.’

Pickles also announced that the Department for Communities and Local Government would look at what further support can be offered to leaseholders of properties. As part of its review, the department will look at how to ensure landlords provide a realistic valuation of the price a leaseholder would have to pay to buy the freehold or extend their lease.


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