Steven Mills writes:
After four years of legal proceedings, leaseholders of ex-Lewisham Council properties in Brockley which are managed by the PFI consortium Regenter B3 have won their case that they were overcharged for renovation work carried out in 2007-09.
The decision comes after an appeal brought forward by Lewisham Council against an original Tribunal decision that the 38.6% fees should be halved, an appeal which cost Lewisham around £300,000 in legal fees despite we leaseholders representing ourselves.
While Lewisham won on some of the points, we did manage to show that the PFI overcharged the amount of profit it should make. More crucially Lewisham's attempt to hide-behind the PFI contract and its confidentiality clauses was closed down by the Tribunal's order for it to be released. This showed that the PFI had some leaseholders over prescribed limits.
This result builds on the other case we took to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in 2011 which agreed that the work carried out by the PFI – particularly by Higgins Construction – was substandard, overpriced, and in some cases unnecessary. Higgins Construction is now no longer part of the PFI - thankfully.
Lewisham has this week confirmed that it is in the process of re-issuing final bills to all leaseholders in Brockley, though they have not been able to say how they will reimburse people who have since sold their properties and moved on. Not all leaseholders will be entitled to a rebate because of the way that bills were capped.
We leaseholders are very pleased to have this process concluded – we did not have legal support or the resources that Lewisham seemed to be prepared to throw at the case. We hope also that Lewisham Council learns lessons from this case and makes sure that any future renovations carried out by the new PFI contractors, Rydon, are up to scratch.
If any leaseholders managed by Regenter B3 want some help and advice, they should look at our blog or contact us at email@example.com
Steven Mills writes: