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ETRA meeting April 2021
April 15 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
This ‘Enhanced Tenants & Residents Association’ (ETRA) ‘meeting is a chance for residents to speak to Hackney representatives about issues on the estate e.g. cleaning, repairs, antisocial behaviour.
ETRA meetings happen on a quarterly basis in January, April, July & October
On Zoom only due to Covid-19 restrictions
|In attendance:||Billy Dunne (BD)||Estate Cleaning Manager|
|John Morris||Consultant at Source Partnership/ Independent Resident Advisor|
|Judith Morrison (JM)||Head of Leasehold & Right to Buy Services (Hackney)|
|Deborah Noel||ASB Manager for the North of Hackney (Hackney)|
|William Owen (WO)||Project Officer Regeneration (Hackney)|
|Clare Potter (CP)||Councillor Brownswood Ward|
|Annette Reid (AR)||Housing Officer for Kings Crescent Estate (Hackney)|
|Bianca Rembrandt (BR)||Community Safety and Principal Enforcement Officer (Hackney)|
|Bronwen Thomas (BT)
|Project Officer Regeneration (Hackney)|
|1||Welcome and Introductions|
|Alice proposes to accept the minutes from the last ETRA meeting (Jan 2021) as they have been shared, Phil seconds.
There are no objections.
JM ask that the service charges section is brought forward due to her having other obligations at 8pm. Emley suggests that update on issues on the newer block goes first so that JM gets a feel for the sort of issues residents are facing.
|4||Update on Older Blocks & Wider Estate|
|· Update on action points from last meeting: No updates given.
· Play Street – 3 no entry signs promised but never delivered: BT confirms these signs will be installed when she works out who is the best person to do this.
· Cleaning: BD is surprised to hear that people are not happy with the cleaning because he has not received any complaints from Kings Crescent Estate since the last ETRA, 3 months ago.
Christine explains that there is always debris on the play street and that the plants are not looking good. BD explains that his team doesn’t do gardening, issues about plants are for ground maintenance. Emilie raises the problem of dog foul, BD explains that the cleaners pick it up in the morning but will not continue to do so throughout the day. PG raises the issue of the glass panel above the front doors; they are very high and difficult to clean, the cleaners do not seem to have the right tools to clean them so it is rarely cleaned. BD will investigate this. Emilie and Sarah highlights that the carpet gets swept but not hoovered. BD confirms cleaners have hoovers. Sarah will email the cleaning email to raise this.
· ASB updates/concerns: PG says it is great that the red boxes have finally been installed over the fire key holes and asked if the red boxes’ key holes have general keys to open them. BR explains that they are “general” but cannot be bought on amazon or ebay so unlikely to be acquired by unwelcomed visitors. Megan agrees that it is great the red boxes have been installed but without the doors being fixed there are still issues of unwelcomed people entering blocks. BR responds that her team is mindful of this and agrees the doors need to be fixed.
· Ants in Bramfield/Theobalds: BT asks if a list of addresses could be provided. Emley explains that when it happened before the whole block needed treated and ask why addresses are needed. BT explains that they need addresses before they can do anything.
· Courtyard noise: This is in progress; AR is in contact with the people affected by this and will contact the parents of the identified children.
· Sainsbury’s articulated trucks are now using Murrain Road (outside Wallington Court) to load and unload: BT agrees this is not acceptable and confirms Sainsburys has been made aware of this. She further explains that Sainsburys does have a permit to park in the highway for deliveries.
· Cyber-attack – any further updates: BT confirms that no further information is available. All information is on Hackney’s website. There is an ongoing criminal investigation and that is why no further information can be given. Alice highlights that it is a GDPR requirement that notification is given promptly to those whose personal data may have been at risk through any cyber attack. Therefore, either can Hackney confirm this has already taken place (ie. If no personal notification then our personal data was not at a risk) or confirm when such notification is expected? To note that I first contacted Hackney about this 2-3 months ago.. CP confirms that anyone who had their data breached has already been contacted by Hackney and this was a small number of people.
Find out who should install the no entry signs and instruct them
Investigate what tools could be given to the cleaning team to reach the glass panel above the front doors.
|5||Heating costs in Newer Blocks|
|· Competitive? : No updates on how rates are competitive
· Update on broken meters overcharging residents: Phil asks if anyone from Hackney can respond to this issue even if the Energy Team is not there. He asks about why residents have to wait when the heating goes down, BT says it should not be the case. Phil raises the issues of residents being overcharged for heating. BT says she is still looking at getting someone from the Energy Team to respond to this. Richard highlights that he has been paying over £150 a month and that this is not right for a new build. It was also noted that not all residents are being charged this amount (eg. Sarah Hulcoop highlighted that she is paying significantly less). BT will follow this up with the Energy Team. Phil raises the fact that he has emailed BT, AR and CP to complain about this without getting any responses. He explains that a neighbour had a professional check their flat and the person said that regardless of the temperature the flat was kept at, it is not possible to have bills of over £150/month for heating. Phil highlights that there is one issue about the fact that the quoted rate (per KwH) is high but separately some residents are just being over-charged for their heating.
Emley asks where the money went for these people who has been over-charged for the service received. She also raises that the overpaid money may be lost forever if Hackney is changing heating service supplier. BT says that even if Hackney is changing supplier, they would request that money from the previous supplier if it was found that some people had been overcharges. Phil says that Insite (the current supplier) refuses to talk to residents because Hackney is their client, not the residents. Meanwhile Hackney has told residents to contact Insite with issues over charging. BT will raise all those issues with the Energy Team. CP asked if a question about heating cost could be added to the post-occupancy survey.
· Heat Trust enrolment?: Not covered during the meeting.
Get the Energy Team to provide information on the following points:
1. The heating rates are high and don’t appear to be competitive.
2. Some residents are being massively overcharged, regardless of their usage.
3. Residents seem to be charged twice for maintenance, once in the heating rate and once in the service charge.
|2||Update on Issues in Newer Blocks|
|Update from BT on list of all defects handed over from Higgins to LBH
· Broken doors: Higgins have done lots of repair works and the responsibility has now been handed over to Hackney’s repair team. There has been 25 repair needs reported since October, but BT is unaware if these have been dealt with yet, they are with the repairs team. There has been 25 other reports or planned work since October, but BT is unaware if these have been dealt with yet. In terms of the loose handles, new handles have been ordered by Hackney and will be tested on a few doors before more can be bought. Phil asks if the doors should not be replaced rather than fixed if they keep breaking whilst being fairly new (Wallington Court’s door breaks on average twice a month). BT is taking the comment onboard and confirms that Hackney is looking at the bigger picture. Megan asks when can residents expect the long-term solution to take place? BT confirms the handles are part of the wider solution and that other things are being looked into. BT will ask an update from the repair team about the wider solutions. Sarah highlights that Chipping Court’s door broke and it took 2 weeks to repair so the problem is not just about the number of doors breaks but also the length of time it takes to fix them. Munevver mentions that the metal gates to the courtyard of the blocks closer to Green Lanes bangs really loudly within the block when shut and that she has reported it several times last year and again two weeks ago. A foam block had been added last year but it was a very temporary fix.
· Slippery courtyard: Courtyards have been cleaned and sealed last summer. Some areas needed further treatment. (The sound cut at this point). Hackney continues to monitor the situation.
· Possible CCTV for bike stores: All bike store in new blocks will have CCTV installed and be monitored by Hackney’s CCTV team. Signs will also be installed to make it explicit that there is CCTV inside the stores.
· Lifts continuing to break: Update from WO: Kimpton Court’s and Sandon Court’s were surveyed, and results are expected soon. The results are expected to be very comprehensive. Alice asks what happens with the lifts of other blocks. WO explains that the results for Sandon and Kimpton Court will inform the solution for the wider estate. Alice mentions that the issue in Barley Court (and elsewhere) is that the emergency button does not work at all & as well as being concerning for residents involved, is this not a potential legal issue for Hackney (eg. Running a lift where the emergency call buttons are inoperable)?. BT was not aware; she will take this back to the service company. Charlotte asks how long this will take. BT says she will raise this as an emergency. Charlotte asks why this has never been raised as an emergency, BT cannot explain why. AR explains that even if residents do not report to the right department, internally Hackney forward the issues to the right department. Residents give several examples where this has not been the case. AR confirms that she will make sure that the issue of emergency button not working will be reported to the right department and she will give an update at the next ETRA.
· Cracks in windows: BT is looking into the window manufacturer to see if people can get these repaired under warranty as this is not normal wear.
· Ventilation system issues: No full update on this but BT is looking into it.
· Post-occupancy evaluation survey of residents: Lots of responses received, WO thanks residents for this. Hackney will be presenting the results at a later ETRA. WO invites all residents who have not responded to the survey yet, to do so.
Get an update about the long-term solution for the broken doors across Phase 2 of the estate and forward it to residents.
Raise, as an emergency, the issue of the faulty lifts’ emergency button with the relevant department and update residents about the outcome
Contact windows manufacturer about windows cracking
Bronwen Thomas and Annette Reid
|JM states that following the discussion about repairs she understands why residents may be angry when receiving their service charges. She then gives the following updates:
· How are Service Charges estimated/calculated: There are different Heads of Charge (cleaning, repair etc.). An average of the last 3 years actual charges is used to estimate the costs for most of these Heads.
· Reason for increase in cost this year:
o Building Insurance: Hackney had a long-term agreement with the current insurance provider which is coming to an end. Hackney went out to tender and because of Grenfel and increased claims done in the last years, the bids were all higher than the existing insurance.
o Heating: There is now a standing charge included for maintenance.
o CCTV: Hackney used to only charge for installation and maintenance but has now decided to also charge for monitoring.
o Bin collection: additional bin hire and collection are required in some estate (not sure if this applies to KC) and the cost has been re-charged to residents.
· How is value for money monitored given ongoing estate issues: For contractor to be employed by Hackney they need to participate to an invitation to tender and one point they have to provide information on is value for money. Furthermore, if the leasehold team notice that a contractor is constantly charging for the same problem to be fixed, then Hackney looks into finding a wider solution.
· Reason for incorrect payments taken for some shared ownership flats (newer blocks): Christine explains that service charges have gone out but not the rent. JM explains that Hackney issued the estimate in March and later that month send notices about the rent but the increase on the rent was not on the notice. Hackney has a duty to give 30 days’ notice before increasing rent and therefore could not take the first payment. Hackney will contact the 53 people affected by this. Christine highlights that it would be nice if someone responded to the email she sent to Hackney about this because she needs to know if she has to keep that money or if it can be spent. Munevver explains that she has received her rent statement and the calculation is wrong. JM apologies and ask that M sends an email to her personally. Megan highlights that when she queries the different Hackney’s departments about what the charges are and they all respond “this comes from our finance team” and this is very frustrating because lots of things do not get fixed despite residents paying for them being fixed and charges are often wrongly calculated. JM apologies about this and explains that with the cyber attack there is a back log of queries and invites everybody to email her directly if they have ongoing issues related to leasehold, including service charges, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phil proposes that a service charge meeting is organised to discuss issues. JM agrees to this; she will arrange the meeting with the TRA chair. PG asks about the Kimpton Court block electricity which has triple in the last year. JM explains that the gas charges are often based on estimate readings rather than actual readings and that when the latter come in the cost can increase substantially for residents. JM states that this is a general explanation, but doesn’t know specifically about Kimpton Court. Emley, who lives in an older block, explains that her block electricity has also gone up massively. JM takes note of this.
· Is there a limit to the amount that service charges can keep increasing by: No there is not but JM informs residents that if they feel the charges are unreasonable, they can contact the first tier tribunal.
JM needs to leave but apologises about all these issues raised this evening and thanks the chair for having invited her.
Contact Emley, the TRA Chair, to organise a service charge meeting between residents and the leasehold team
|6||Update from Source Partnership|
|· Update from John: SP has not been able to do much recently because of Covid but is hoping to do more soon. Hackney should award the contract for Phase 3 towards the end of the summer/early autumn) and so SP should get more involved with helping residents choosing the contractor and what to do with the community fund that should come from them.|
|7||Any other business?
Deborah invites all residents to continue to report ASB issues to the relevant email addresses
|8||Dates of next meetings & close
All dates are now available for the rest of the year on the website.
ETRA: 14 July @ 7.00 pm – 8.30 pm
Community Focus Meeting: 10 June @ 7.00pm – 8.30pm
The zoom link for this meeting will be emailed to all who request it (email email@example.com)
|1||Welcome and Introductions||5 mins||Emley (TRA Chair)|
|· Approval of minutes from last ETRA meeting (Jan 2021)
|2||Update on Older Blocks & Wider Estate|
|· Update on action points from last meeting
· Play Street – 3 no entry signs promised but never delivered.
· Repairs, cleaning, ASB updates/concerns (various blocks)
· Ants in Bramfield/Theobalds
· Courtyard noise
· Sainsbury’s articulated trucks are now using Murrain Road (outside Wallington Court) to load and unload.
· Cyber attack – any further updates?
(Other Hackney departments may also be represented here)
|20 mins||Annette Reid Housing Officer
Billy Dunne Waste Operations
|3||Heating costs in Newer Blocks|
· Update on broken meters overcharging residents.
· Heat Trust enrolment?
|10 mins||Energy team
Or Hackney Representative
|4||Update on Issues in Newer Blocks|
|· Update on list of all defects handed over from Higgins to LBH
· Update with ongoing issues:
o Broken doors
o Slippery courtyard
o Possible CCTV for bike stores
o Lifts continuing to break
o Cracks in windows
o Ventilation system issues
· Post-occupancy survey of residents
|20 mins||Bronwen Thomas Project Officer Regeneration (Hackney)
And New Build Team
|· How are Service Charges estimated/calculated?
· Reason for increase in cost this year?
· How is value for money monitored given ongoing estate issues?
· Reason for incorrect payments taken for some shared ownership flats (newer blocks)
|20 mins||Judith Morrison Head of Leasehold & Right to Buy Services & Emma Adjei Leasehold Services Manager|
|6||Update from Source Partnership|
|· Update from John/Carol||5 mins||Source Partnership|
|7||Any other business?
|5mins||Emley (TRA Chair)|
|8||Dates of next meetings & close
|5 mins||Emley (TRA Chair)|
**Please note that this meeting will only deal with estate related issues**
We will have another resident focused meeting in June 2021 to discuss building community on Kings Crescent, ideas for events and activities etc.
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas or suggestions for community building or to find out more about how to get involved!
Agenda will be published here 8th April 2021. Please email KingsCrescentN4@gmail.com if you have agenda items
(Deadline for agenda items is 9am on 8th April)
The minutes of the previous meeting in January can be seen here