The Tustin estate in Peckham is undergoing a £27m refurbishment. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

‘A terrible shock’: Southwark council hands flat owner £146,000 bill

How would you feel if a council bill for £146,000 landed on your doormat?

This monster demand – for £146,257, to be precise – was sent to Lloyd Onuoha, a 62-year-old nurse, by Southwark council in London.

Onuoha is the leaseholder of a two-bedroom flat on an estate run by the council, and this is the estimated bill for refurbishing his tower block. But just to be clear, that’s not £146,257 shared between everyone – that’s his share of the cost.

It’s the highest major refurbishment works bill that the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership – a charity that helps leaseholders – has ever seen.

And it could be viewed as a warning to council tenants thinking of using the right-to-buy scheme to purchase their home at a discount. Before going ahead, they need to bear in mind that a few years down the line, they could well be hit with a demand to contribute towards costly repairs or maintenance, particularly if it’s an old tower block.

Onuoha bought his flat on the Tustin estate in Peckham in 2004 using right to buy. Back then, the flat was valued at £93,000 – it’s worth about £250,000 now. In 2010, he moved out of the property and started letting it out, as it was not big enough for his growing family.

Onuoha says: “The flat is in a high-rise block. The whole project is about £27m and, as a leaseholder, my share is nearly £147,000. The bill was a terrible shock. We’ve had major works bills of £5,000 or so before, but nothing like this.”

Southwark council is planning a major regeneration of the Tustin estate, with work including brickwork and concrete repairs, balcony and roof work, drainage repairs, window and door replacement, and asbestos removal.

There are 22 leaseholders who own property on the estate, which is home to a total of around 225 flats spread over three tower blocks. According to Southwark council records, 20 leaseholders have received estimated bills of up to £151,000. The other two received bills of £12,000 or £15,000 as they are in the first five years of their lease. Only two of the estate’s 22 leaseholders are recorded as living on the estate, with the remainder letting out their properties.

Once the bills are finalised, leaseholders will be invoiced in March 2020. Read more on this article from the Guardian

Source The Guardian

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'A terrible shock': council hands flat owner £146,000 bill
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'A terrible shock': council hands flat owner £146,000 bill
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Nurse faces losing his property after council demands gigantic sum for refurbishment of block
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Atkinson McLeod
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