Minutes 14.6.2017

TRA meeting – 14th June, 7-8pm

Attendees

Lisa Linpower (Chair)

Nikki Parrott (Vice-Chair)

Francine Bennett (Secretary)

Maria Savito (Treasurer)

Brian Burton (9 Dorset Court)

Kim Byrne (1 Lulworth Court)

Alasdair O’Hare (9 Portland Court)

Natalie Moss (9 Portland Court)

Cordelia Harwood (59 Blandford Court)

David Turton (18 Blandford Court)

Pat Turton (18 Blandford Court)

Shakira Subratie (67 Blandford Court)

Raymond Subratie (30 Dorset Court)

Amena Subratie (30 Dorset Court)

Abi Bobyi (63 Blandford Court)

Joe Cranston-Turner (52 Blandford Court)

Maria Sanchez (12 Stratton Court)

Tom Oakley (9 Swanage Court)

[illegible] (29 Blandford Court)

Actions

  • Find out whether Hackney can do a mailout for every open meeting, in order to create quorum for each meeting (FB)
  • Chase Hackney again for clear information on business rates and utilities for community flat (EM)
  • Add rent review to agenda of next open meeting (FB)
  • Test different meeting time for next open meeting (FB/LL)
  • Invite Major Works representative to next meeting to explain proposed door scheme (EM)
  • Contact councillor to raise concerns about proposed door scheme (LL)
  • Query whether service charge rebate has been made to all flats affected by tank overcharge (FB)
  • Raise any cleaning concerns to cleaner.estates@hackney.gov.uk (all)
  • Add bike locker options to next meeting agenda (FB/EM)

Approve last year’s accounts (JCT/MGS)

The accounts were reviewed by those present and approved with no queries.

Discuss, amend, and vote in new constitution (FB)

We reviewed the new constitution which Hackney has proposed the TRA adopts.

In general those present were happy with the proposed wording, but there was some concern about whether we would be able to always achieve the new proposed minimum quorum of 12 for our four annual open meetings.

It was agreed that FB would check whether LB Hackney can commit to do a mailout for each open meeting; the TRA is happy to formally adopt the constitution conditional on this being done.

We also agreed to try varying the meeting times at alternating meetings, as early times are better for parents while later times are better for those who work.

 Community flat rent review (FB)

Nikki Parrott absented herself for this item, as her company are tenants of the flat.

The rental for the flat is currently £250 per calendar month, excluding bills and rates. This is definitely well below market rent for office space in the area, so the TRA considers that it should review whether to raise the rent.

There was some discussion of the pros and cons of changing the rent:

  • In favour of changing – £250 pcm is clearly below market rent, and if the TRA achieved a higher rent it would provide more for the community
  • Against charging – the condition of the flat has been very poor over the last year, there have been several floods and closures and no clear information from Hackney on when issues will be repaired, if we charge closer to market rent then tenants are unlikely to put up with this kind of issue

It emerged during the discussion that Hackney staff have not yet provided Emmanuel with the information requested at last meeting (3 months ago) on what rates and bills are owing or what the monthly rates will be in future. After discussion those present agreed to re-review the rent at the first meeting after this has been clarified, since it will be an important factor in setting a fair total rent.

Update on Big Lunch plans, 15th July (NP)

NP and LL gave a brief update on plans to celebrate the Big Lunch next month, and requested anyone able to volunteer some time on the day to make themselves known and get involved in the event.

Updates on selected action items from last meeting

Query with HH directors how to get a bill for outstanding business rates and utility bills on the Community Flat sent to the flat tenants (EM)

EM has queried this but had no clear response so far – Resident Participation has said that “there will be an expectation that there will be a contribution made towards the cost of the utility bills” but the amount expected or the back payments owing are still unclear. EM to follow up.

Find out what is the purpose, schedule, and cost of the Dorset Court door replacement scheme (ie who is it charged back to) (EM)

EM has also queried this but not yet got clear information. From the Contracts Manager: “We are waiting for leasehold services (major works team) to issue the section 20 notices before we can start the front entrance doors installation”. This did not answer the question we asked. A number of residents raised concerns and frustrations both about the safety of any new doors (especially given the recent Grenfell Tower fire), lack of clarity about why this is being done or what it will cost.

It is unclear when the scheme will start or how we might get more information to help judge whether it’s a good idea.

EM will invite Major Works to the next meeting in the hope they may attend and clarify.

LL will contact our councillor to see if we can get better communication from Hackney through that route.

Any Other Business

One resident raised concerns about dog fouling on the grass communal areas, as well as dangerous dogs on the estate, and those from outside the estate using the large shared bins to dump their own rubbish.

EM suggested in all those cases sharing door numbers or addresses of the offenders with him, as him paying a visit is likely to be the most effective reminder. He did not recommend any new signage as there is an ongoing signage review by Hackney which means that few new signs are being installed at the moment.

MS pointed out that the service charge to leaseholders has increased rapidly over the last few years. She has queried the reasons behind this with Hackney, and has been told that this is driven by repairs taking place on the estate, although it is unclear what those repairs are. She recommended that every individual flat request a breakdown of charges. MS discovered during this process that an expensive cold water storage tank was mistakenly charged back to all flats – more detail here. FB agreed to query with Hackney whether this has been repaid to all flats or just to MS.

Several residents raised that cleaning under the new Hackney system is not as good as previously – stairwells and other communal areas are noticeably more dirty. EM explained that the new system is where street cleaners “check and rectify” any issues each day, then do a proper wash of all areas every 20 days. He suggested that if residents have concerns or issues then they raise them with cleaner.estates@hackney.gov.uk.

KB shared that Hackney is definitely not going to upgrade the communal aerial for Sky Q, so it is not worth paying for upgraded Sky Q services privately.

One resident requested reviewing bike locker options at the next agenda, as he would like to know how to request having lockers installed on the estate.

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