If you are considering taking out a loan to pay for the works, it is important that you read all of the terms and conditions carefully. Some loans have heavy penalties if you wish to pay the debt off early. It is important to remember that if you fail to keep up the repayments, on a loan secured against your property, your home could be repossessed.
Before entering into any loan agreement you may wish to take your own legal and financial advice.
Schemes to assist leaseholders with bills in excess of £10,000
Lewisham Homes and Lewisham Council will consider all cases where the charge for works of repair, improvement and maintenance exceed £10,000 to any one leaseholder in any five year period. The Council has the discretion to reduce the Major Works charge so that it does not exceed £10,000 in any five year period. However, it has to consider each case against certain criteria.
Please note that the Council does not have the power to reduce the charge below £10,000 in any five year period. If your Major Works bill exceeds £10,000 within a five year period, Lewisham Homes will write to you and ask you if you wish your case to be considered under ‘exceptional hardship’ as well as other criteria. To do this we need to ask you about all of your financial circumstances and the options open to you to pay for the Major Works.
What happens if I cannot afford to pay for the works or a loan?
If you are in this position it is important that you contact Home Ownership Services straight away. You can discuss your individual circumstances over the phone, or arrange an interview. Home visits can be arranged if you are unable to come to the office for health reasons. We will assist you in identifying benefits that you may be entitled to claim and work with you to calculate an amount that you can afford to pay. We will then discuss with you ways that may help to reduce the amount you need to borrow and in doing so reduce the interest that you pay.
In order to provide this assistance, we will need to ask you to provide full details of your income, expenditure and savings. We can also arrange for you to receive assistance from the Financial Services Authority.
What will happen if I do not pay the Major Works bill?
It is a condition of the lease, that leaseholders contribute towards Major Works when they are carried out to their block or estate. Every effort will be made to come to an arrangement that is acceptable to both you and Lewisham Homes as the Council’s managing agent. We provide assistance that is generally not available to leaseholders in the private sector, for instance allowing payments by instalment and offering service charge loans. We will take recovery action for non-payment of charges via the courts but only after we have tried to reach a suitable arrangement with you.
Lewisham Homes is not authorised to provide financial advice. We strongly recommend that you take financial and legal advice regarding the options provided.