Welcome to the Aylesbury Leaseholders Action Group. We are a group of leaseholders who have got together as a result of Southwark Council’s plans to compulsory purchase our homes in order to make way for the coming regeneration scheme.
We feel that we are not being offered market value by the council, which is using its own officers to carry out the valuations that determine the ‘market value’ of our homes. Whilst we are being offered ‘re-housing assistance’ in the form of shared-ownership options on the new homes being built, the terms of these options contain restrictive covenants and still mean accepting a low valuation. The Council’s means testing process for qualifying for these options is also nontransparent: it is unclear who qualifies and on what basis.
As a result, with leaseholders being left isolated in empty blocks with services being disconnected, most of us are left with no option but to accept the paltry compensation offer and relocate to outer boroughs.
Leaseholders have instructed independent surveyors whose valuations are significantly higher than the council’s, but there is no recourse to third party arbitration to resolve the differences except through a costly and lengthy litigation process via the Upper Tribunal.
Standard practice for regeneration schemes across London is for councils to instruct independent surveyors to carry out valuations of homes earmarked for demolition. This ensures that valuations are determined impartially by an independent third party. However, Southwark Council’s valuations are conducted ‘in-house’ by an officer from its property division with no transparency into valuation methods or criteria (there is no valuation report – just a sum offered without a breakdown of how it was calculated). It is also using settlements negotiated by other leaseholders as a basis for its ‘market value’ calculations; comparing prices with other homes earmarked for demolition rather than those in the surrounding area.
Furthermore, whilst Compulsory Purchase law obliges the council to cover the cost of instructing an independent surveyor to negotiate on our behalf, it has introduced an unlawful cap on these fees. This is a breach of VOA guidance, which lays down that fees should be billed on an hourly time/cost basis and has led to leaseholders being under-represented in negotiations.
We meet on a regular basis and hold open drop-ins and general meetings. Our aim is to try and get the best possible deal for all leaseholders and make sure our basic rights under Compulsory Purchase law are respected. Our purpose is also to offer as much advice, help and support as we can. If you would like to find out more please email us at email@example.com