LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby alywin » 9 Nov 2018 00:27

How horrendous for you. I'm so sorry. If you do have a mortgage, then presumably the mortgage provider has a stake in the property and would appreciate hearing about the situation, and might even do something about it? Whether this is the right tactic to use, though, I don't know.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby mosy » 9 Nov 2018 01:54

alywin wrote:How horrendous for you. I'm so sorry. If you do have a mortgage, then presumably the mortgage provider has a stake in the property and would appreciate hearing about the situation, and might even do something about it? Whether this is the right tactic to use, though, I don't know.


alywyn, I was thinking that "doing something about it" might not be the "something" you'd want as although a property is collateral on a mortgage, I don't think there's any skin off a lender's nose if they were to foreclose, auction the damaged property as is for what they can get and still go after the mortgagee for any loan amount still outstanding. No doubt they have a spreadsheet that calculates the scenario by which they'd come out best. I honestly don't if the maxim of "If in doubt, say nowt" applies or not.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby Lord Summerisle » 9 Nov 2018 11:59

Once again, thanks so much for the responses, sympathy and advice. It’s a reassurance to know there are decent humans out there and such genuine goodwill on this Forum. You are all extremely kind.

I will definitely contact Ellie reeves.

I shall contact my credit card company as you say, nothing to lose there.

I have contacted CAB but for this you have to go and see them on a Saturday which I will try to do.

Exploring the Sydenham assembly option sounds a really good idea, I’ll look into this for sure.

Unfortunately Patrick O’Connor was not very helpful, he has asked me to stop mailing them as he consider sit a buildings control matter now. I’m told however that he is pushing to prosecute the freeholder and indeed other non-permissioned work nearby that I think has encouraged others. For us though he doesn’t want to know. I’ve been liaising with is boss but after my telling them of the new damage they’ve gone cold on me. I don’t know if this is because they’re worried that their inaction may be partly responsible.

My mortgage broker advises not to contact the mortgage company yet in case they don’t react in the way we’d hope.
We’re really just waiting for our solicitor’s response right now, £1000 pounds just to read what we’ve sent them and this is before any action has been taken!! As Mosy alluded, we will need to decide on priorities of action but I want to see him punished fully for everything as well as our home being repaired and redecorated.

For now though I desperately want the damage assessed and the wheels to start turning. I am so fiercely determined that whether by buildings insurance (unlikely) his liability insurance or even via suing him he pays. I imagine he’d be the type to claim he has no money but even then he owns our building so could be forced to sell it (I’d hope) There’s also the hope that when he comes to trial for the illegal flat beneath and the 5 years of illegal earnings from that he’ll get a nasty punishment then too. Right now he seems to be untouchable. These are all my own mullings over of the situation however, reality is its all unknowns.

Again, thanks to all who’ve been so helpful.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby JRW » 10 Nov 2018 09:17

Hi Lordy!

Can you take some photos of the access difficulties to your front door, and cracks etc that have suddenly appeared? I can photograph the outside, but if you have photos of the excavation, I'd like to see them too. I am putting together a slideshow of local planning disasters to show at the Sydenham Assembly on December 1, for the Mayor can explain ..... I can only use a max 3 photos of each site, so choose the best.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 10 Nov 2018 17:27

mosy wrote:
alywin wrote:How horrendous for you. I'm so sorry. If you do have a mortgage, then presumably the mortgage provider has a stake in the property and would appreciate hearing about the situation, and might even do something about it? Whether this is the right tactic to use, though, I don't know.


alywyn, I was thinking that "doing something about it" might not be the "something" you'd want as although a property is collateral on a mortgage, I don't think there's any skin off a lender's nose if they were to foreclose, auction the damaged property as is for what they can get and still go after the mortgagee for any loan amount still outstanding. No doubt they have a spreadsheet that calculates the scenario by which they'd come out best. I honestly don't if the maxim of "If in doubt, say nowt" applies or not.


unless the mortgagee has broken the mortgage contract i.e. by not paying, the mortgagor will not take any action. There is an issue concerning the value of the property securing the mortgage but most lenders are banks nowadays and the strict requirements that applied to Building Society lending do not apply. That said, as a former mortgage administrator for a Building Society, I can say the attitude of Building Societies is to do what it takes to keep people in their homes. I recall people in serious debt who we managed to rescue... The whole point of a Building Society is to enable house purchase for people who otherwise would be unable to achieve that.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 10 Nov 2018 17:31

I think I know which property you are referring to... a few doors from the King Alfred. If so then, in your shoes, I would move out immediately. There is no support whatsoever in place for the first floor and floors above.
Last edited by John H on 10 Nov 2018 17:43, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 10 Nov 2018 17:33

JRW wrote:Hi Lordy!

Can you take some photos of the access difficulties to your front door, and cracks etc that have suddenly appeared? I can photograph the outside, but if you have photos of the excavation, I'd like to see them too. I am putting together a slideshow of local planning disasters to show at the Sydenham Assembly on December 1, for the Mayor can explain ..... I can only use a max 3 photos of each site, so choose the best.


I just looked. The excavations go down around 8 feet. There is a blue canopy over.... You can peep through... Basically they have removed all the walls... all the support for the structure above. I saw nothing in place to support... No ACROW props... Nothing! No wonder there are cracks.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 10 Nov 2018 17:41

mosy wrote:John H, the situation here apparently is that the people who should be doing something aren't doing even the things they're legally obliged to do, hence what's the next step? You say what authorities should be doing but it doesn't help if they're not fulfilling their duty.

I was told years ago that the trick in such cases was to find the person who knows and ask them. I've said in this case that it's likely to be a knowledgable solicitor who knows what steps could be taken to expect a result and knows what steps would fall on stony ground, whether in terms of leaseholder/downstairs landlord or authorities failing to act effectively. Meanwhile, I see nothing wrong with a broad brush approach or scatter attack as who knows if one might be successful?


Building Regs Inspectors MUST attend if someone, whose property is affected, asks them to. The way to do this is to ask them to examine your own property... (i.e. the person in the flat above) expressing concern at structural defects such as what appear to be subsidence cracks. Another approach is to obtain the services of a structural engineer. Once it is determined there is a structural defect not caused by any natural or gradual process then the insurance company can get involved. You make a claim against them. Let them sort out who is responsible. They have bigger lawyers than the ground landlord... Mark My Words.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby mosy » 10 Nov 2018 23:17

John H wrote: by Lord Summerisle » 08 Nov 2018, 15:15


John H wrote:Building Regs Inspectors MUST attend if someone, whose property is affected, asks them to. The way to do this is to ask them to examine your own property... (i.e. the person in the flat above) expressing concern at structural defects such as what appear to be subsidence cracks. Another approach is to obtain the services of a structural engineer. Once it is determined there is a structural defect not caused by any natural or gradual process then the insurance company can get involved. You make a claim against them. Let them sort out who is responsible. They have bigger lawyers than the ground landlord... Mark My Words.

[my bold]

Lord Summerisle, in his post 08 Nov 2018, 15:15, said his leaseholder was obstructing him from contacting the building insurers for which he pays for his part to his leaseholder. I confess that puzzles me since mortgage lenders used to require proof of buildings insurance if not using their linked insurers. If that's still so, Lord Summerisle logically must be listed as having an interest as co-holder or whatever or arguably his lender wouldn't have accepted it. I don't see how or why any insurer would choose not to engage or be somehow coerced into not engaging with an interested party.
Do you have any comments? (My questions and speculations are just that.)
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 12 Nov 2018 10:10

mosy wrote:
John H wrote: by Lord Summerisle » 08 Nov 2018, 15:15


John H wrote:Building Regs Inspectors MUST attend if someone, whose property is affected, asks them to. The way to do this is to ask them to examine your own property... (i.e. the person in the flat above) expressing concern at structural defects such as what appear to be subsidence cracks. Another approach is to obtain the services of a structural engineer. Once it is determined there is a structural defect not caused by any natural or gradual process then the insurance company can get involved. You make a claim against them. Let them sort out who is responsible. They have bigger lawyers than the ground landlord... Mark My Words.

[my bold]

Lord Summerisle, in his post 08 Nov 2018, 15:15, said his leaseholder was obstructing him from contacting the building insurers for which he pays for his part to his leaseholder. I confess that puzzles me since mortgage lenders used to require proof of buildings insurance if not using their linked insurers. If that's still so, Lord Summerisle logically must be listed as having an interest as co-holder or whatever or arguably his lender wouldn't have accepted it. I don't see how or why any insurer would choose not to engage or be somehow coerced into not engaging with an interested party.
Do you have any comments? (My questions and speculations are just that.)


I suspect the lease requires the structure to be insured by the freeholder.... who then seeks reimbursement from the lessee. I think he should be going to the County Court and seeking an injuction. If the local authority is not doing its job then the courts are the only answer. A photograph of what is going on should be enough to persuade a judge.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby JRW » 12 Nov 2018 19:45

I think that it would be in idea to take up someone's point that building inspectors have to attend if you say you believe your home is unsafe. Contact them again and keep it very simple. Your home is cracking, and the freeholder has removed structural support in unauthorised excavations. Please can they check that your family are safe to remain, and there is no danger of collapse.

Just that. Make them focus on the acute danger. Don't distract them with extra info. Copy in the 3 councillors and the MP maybe. You really don't want to spend money on legal action if there is any option. Good luck!
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby stuart » 12 Nov 2018 21:24

Do you have gas? If you have any concern that the structural issues are affecting the supply pipes then do contact the gas people. They should be around like a shot to inspect and they should have the powers to enter the property downstairs. Might mean you are cut off but the upside is downstairs would be cut off too which may begin to concentrate minds.

As John H intimated - your safety comes first, second and last.

Stuart
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby mosy » 12 Nov 2018 21:44

If it does transpire that you should indeed move out, either sooner or later, it might be worth finding out beforehand who will pay the temporary rental and getting their confirmation in writing and quickly. I'm sorry this adds another question rather than solving anything.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby JRW » 12 Nov 2018 22:49

I have just checked, and Lewisham Building Control received an application for the works in July this year. The application was registered, but hasn't been decided on yet. The building control database is woeful, and the plans and paperwork are not available. Get in contact with them asap!

https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online ... APR_210305
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 13 Nov 2018 00:08

Lots of sound advice here... I noted one sour note. There always has to be ONE!

If a Building Regs application is in and has not been decided then it certainly is within their remit.

Mosy raises a valid point but frankly, if it were I, then that would be way down on the checklist. Safety would come top. One outcome might be the building being condemned. The problem you have is that if the policy is in the name of the freeholder and they caused the damage then who knows who would pay? The Insurer would be bound to say "uninsured". In my experience that is their usual response to any attempt to claim on property insurance.


The Building Regs Inspectors are culpable if they have not inspected.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 13 Nov 2018 00:13

JRW wrote:I have just checked, and Lewisham Building Control received an application for the works in July this year. The application was registered, but hasn't been decided on yet. The building control database is woeful, and the plans and paperwork are not available. Get in contact with them asap!

https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online ... APR_210305



This links to the planning applications. Both were refused. There was an appeal on each. Both were denied.

IMO the best option is to trot down to the County Court and serve an injunction on Lewisham requiring them to do their duty and one on the freeholder requiring them to reinstate the building. Lewisham are negligent.


Apart from that perhaps there would be enough support for a demonstration outside the property... with TV cameras invited along.. Worth the effort.
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 13 Nov 2018 00:16

Your lease is your main weapon. The freeholder is very clearly in breach of the terms of the lease... Get thee to a solicitor!
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby JRW » 13 Nov 2018 00:24

Looking at the building control page on reporting a dangerous structure, it seems that anyone can report it, they don't have to live there. I will report it tomorrow, and if some more people also report it, it might be a quicker way of getting a response than a physical demo. Multiple complaints should do the trick.

https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/ ... cture.aspx
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 13 Nov 2018 00:27

JRW wrote:Looking at the building control page on reporting a dangerous structure, it seems that anyone can report it, they don't have to live there. I will report it tomorrow, and if some more people also report it, it might be a quicker way of getting a response than a physical demo. Multiple complaints should do the trick.



agreed. Meanwhile the following is a link to enable all to view the house of the person who applied for the planning permission... presumably the freeholder. He lives in Shirley.

Naturally no-one should do anything unlawful ……………………...

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.37374 ... 384!8i8192
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Re: LEWISHAM COUNCIL PLANNING ENFORCEMENT DESPAIR

Postby John H » 13 Nov 2018 00:32

A word of caution. The "agent" i.e. the supervisor of the project has virtually no assets.

https://document-api-images-prod.s3.eu- ... 200c87ce51
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