Information on Tenders for Council Properties.

Ian Woolger made this Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, East Devon District Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear East Devon District Council,

Please supply details of the tendering process currently used by the council to allocate council owned properties to prospective leaseholders. Also please supply details of the time frames used to allocate lease periods on council properties.

Yours faithfully,

Ian R Woolger

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000319976 .

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East Devon District Council

Dear Mr Woolger,

Thank you for your request for information. Please find the response to your query below.

The earliest leases we have records of are 15 July 1986 for the Harbour View and 16 October 1975 for the Octagon. It could well be that these premises were already let to the existing tenant when the District Council came into existence and we don?t have any record of the tender process.

The tenants at the Octagon and Harbour View Café are responsible for internal maintenance and as Landlord we are responsible for external maintenance.

For the period 2011/12 - 2013/14 the upkeep and maintenance spend is as follows:
Harbour View £725
Octagon £593

I hope this is helpful.

If you are not satisfied with the way we have responded to your request, please fill in our online complaint form at www.eastdevon.gov.uk/making_a_complaint or write to the Monitoring Officer, EDDC, Knowle, Sidmouth, EX10 8HL.

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Dear East Devon District Council,

It would appear that there is an error in your understanding of my recent FOI request. Therefore please supply the information asked for in my original request. There is no information regarding the process of tender, there is also no information on how long the leases are, or to whom the leases were granted and for what time frames. Please therefore do as requested and supply the information as it was requested.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Woolger

Ian Woolger left an annotation ()

It is now 23 days since the "non answer" to my FOI request. It was not a difficult request and I can only assume that the council have reasons not to provide the information requested.?

P Freeman left an annotation ()

To be honest, I am not sure that your question was well framed. Do you know how many properties the council owns and LEASES out to tenants (as opposed to renting it to tenants)? If the Octagon and Harbour View Cafe are the only two freeholds that the council leases, then the answer could in fact be a good one.

Can I suggest that you put in a new FoI request for a summary of how many leases, on what lengths and how how many leases are negotiated each year since EDDC was formed in order to get a feel for how large the lease base is and how frequently the leases are negotiated?

Also, for commercial premises, I think that the tenant has a legal right for lease renewal on reasonable terms, so the process for renewals would probably need to be different from issuing new leases.

If they only have a few properties they lease, so lease renewals happen only once every few years, the process will be different to if they do tens or hundreds per year. And the process will be likely be different for residential property, for new commercial leases and fore commercial lease renewals.

Ian Woolger left an annotation ()

Thankyou for your added annotation, however the information I required was simple, why would it be neccesary to re word it. I wish to know, how the councils tender process works and how lease periods etc are worked out and allocated. IE, is there a standard set of lease terms and conditions or are they different for each property. The two properties mentioned are the ones in which I have an interest and I wish to find out, how the lease terms are decided and how the availability of the properties is advertised, to enable a fair and transparent transaction to take place.

P Freeman left an annotation ()

Because:

1. The people who answer FoI requests tend to take things literally.

2. Your questions are open to interpretation and leave wriggle room.

3. You didn't get the answers you wanted.

4. You don;t have sufficient background knowledge to interpret the answers you did get.

Nick King left an annotation ()

Hi Ian,

You might find it quicker by looking it up on their website at...
http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/council_leas...

Or give them a ring and speak to them personally. They are usually more helpful on the phone.

Nick!

Ian Woolger left an annotation ()

Thanks Nick. The link you suggested refers to residential properties. My query was related to the two specific properties mentioned,as I wish to find out what the leasing terms are in regard to commercial property. As to the best of my knowledge I have never seen either property come up for tender.

P Freeman left an annotation ()

Commercial leases are often for a period of 10 - 20 years (or possibly longer) so renewals are going to be infrequent. However they do often contain clauses for rent reviews every few years.

Commercial tenants also have a statutory right to a lease renewal at commercially reasonable rents, so it is not automatic that they would come up for tender at renewal if the tenant agrees to EDDC's proposed new lease or it goes to arbitration or court.

So, whilst you may not be able to get the full details of the leases under FoI because of commercial confidentiality, you might be able to get information about when leases were contracted and their periods (which will give you insight into when the renewals are due). You may then be able to find out whether the previous lease was with the same tenant, and whether the renewal negotiations went to court. If they went to court, the papers might then be a matter of public record.

P Freeman left an annotation ()

P.S. Given the age of this one, is it time for an Internal Review?