Stevenage Major Works Contract: Invoices to leaseholders postponed due to coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 May 2020

Before and after the major works at a flat block in Stevenage's Plash Drive. Picture: courtesy of Stevenage Borough Council.

Before and after the major works at a flat block in Stevenage's Plash Drive. Picture: courtesy of Stevenage Borough Council.

Archant

Leaseholders awaiting bills of up to £20,000 each for major refurbishment works to their flat blocks will have more breathing space to stump up the money now invoicing plans have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stevenage Borough Council’s Major Refurbishment Contract includes all the local authority’s 550 low and medium-rise flat blocks and began in 2018 with Longmeadow, Old Town and Roebuck areas.

The programme of work is due to end in 2023 and could include roof replacements, structural repairs, window replacements and rewiring.

The borough council says the works affect 3,850 flats - 1,287 of which are privately owned.

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With an average estimated bill of about £14,000 per flat for leaseholders, SBC has previously come under fire for not providing a cyclical maintenance programme to avoid the need for such a huge programme of works, but the local authority blames government funding cuts.

SBC has also been criticised by leaseholders for poor communication over the works, having cancelled a Q&A meeting in January due to unprecedented demand, after having only allowing for 150 attendees.

SBC subsequently announced a series of 30-minute drop-in sessions planned for this month, but the local authority has now been forced to cancel these meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has consequently decided to delay invoicing leaseholders for the works.

In an email to leaseholders affected by the first tranche of works, the council explains: “Following the government advice in regards to social distancing, we are cancelling the MRC drop-in events.

“The works to your block have completed and we had planned to send out an invoice in the coming weeks/months. However, we will now be postponing the raising of the invoices so that we can observe our commitment to all leaseholders to meet with them to discuss the works, the costs and the payment options available if requested. We will be contacting you shortly to explain the process in further detail.”

More information about the Major Refurbishment Contract can be found at stevenage.gov.uk/housing/112766/current-works/

For independent advice regarding your leasehold property, visit lease-advice.org


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