Invoices for Major Works on Wells Park Estate

Mr. Williams made this Freedom of Information request to Lewisham Homes

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, Lewisham Homes should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Lewisham Homes,

We've just received an invoice, dated 16/06/17 [but not actually posted until a week or so later], for the Major Works which were conducted on our building, 17 to 30 Peters Path, back in 2014/15.

I'm writing to request that you release all invoices which Lewisham Homes received in relation to these works at 17 to 30 Peters Path (eg from your contractors / subcontractors / consultants etc etc)... Everything Lewisham homes was billed, which went on to comprise a part of the charges you've now presented to the leaseholders of that building.

I request that you release all iterations of the aforementioned invoices - not only the final invoices. For example, if a contractor presented you an invoice which was later amended, updated, superseded or suchlike, for any reason, then I request that you release all versions and not only the final ones (it would be useful if you could point out such links/relations between iterative documents, if it does actually happen to be the case that such documents are present in this release).

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Williams

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Thank you for contacting the Customer Relations Team at Lewisham Homes. We
aim to respond to all emails within 2 working days.

 

If your email is about a repair, please call our contact centre on 0800
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Kind Regards,

 

Customer Relations Team

DISCLAIMER

Lewisham Homes is the trading name of Lewisham Homes Limited, which
is a company registered in England and Wales. Our registered office is
Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU.

Registered in England and Wales Company Number: 5887410

This email and its attachments may be confidential and are intended
solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views
or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not
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Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Dear Mr Williams

Lewisham Homes - Freedom of Information request

Our Reference: 407685
Due date: 24 July 2017
________________________________________

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Thank you for your recent request.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working-days, subject to the application of any exemptions. Where consideration is being given to exemptions the 20 working-day timescale may be extended to a period considered reasonable depending on the nature and circumstances of your request. In such cases you will be notified and, where possible, a revised time-scale will be indicated. In all cases we shall attempt to deal with your request at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information requested where the request exceeds the statutory limit or where disbursements exceed £10. In such cases you will be informed in writing and your request will be suspended until we receive payment from you or your request is modified and/or reduced.

Your request may require either full or partial transfer to another public authority. You will be informed if your request is transferred.

If we are unable to provide you with the information requested we will notify you of this together with the reason(s) why and details of how you may appeal (if appropriate).

Kind Regards,

Jana Blahova

Senior Customer Relations Officer
T: 0203 889 0646

Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

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Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Williams

Please find attached our response.

Kind Regards

Jana Blahova

Senior Customer Relations Officer
T: 0203 889 0646

Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

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Dear Lewisham Homes,

I am writing to request a review of Lewisham Homes's handling of my request 'Invoices for Major Works on Wells Park Estate'.

Specifically, I am raising complaint about the following points:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1) The presentation of this response is a complete shambles; it contains incompetently photocopied pages, from which only half the words can be read, thus rendering it illegible. The response letter neglects to even state who has composed this embarrassment of a response.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

2) Upon receipt of a request for a data release, a public body is to decide which act is the most relevant/applicable to the nature of the request (obvious examples being FOI, EIR, DPA, etc).
In this case, it's stated in your correspondence that Lewisham Homes has selected to treat my request as a Freedom of Information Act request.

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, the public body has an obligation to respond 'promptly' to requests. I argue that, in this case, Lewisham Homes has blatantly failed to meet this requirement:

I refer you to Section 10 (1) of the The Freedom of Information Act:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...
which stipulates the following:
'a public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt.'

Further, I refer you to pages 6 & 7 of the ICO's guidance on Time limits for compliance under the
Freedom of Information Act:
https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
which stipulates the following:
Requirement to respond promptly
21. The obligation to respond promptly means that an authority
should comply with a request as soon as is reasonably
practicable.
22. Whilst this is linked to the obligation to respond within 20
working days, it should be treated as a separate requirement.
23. An authority will therefore need to both respond promptly and
within 20 working days in order to comply with section 10(1).
24. Authorities should regard the 20 working day limit as a ‘long
stop’, in other words the latest possible date on which they
may issue a response.
25. It also follows that an authority which provides its response
close to, or on, the final day of the 20 working day limit ought
to be able to both account for, and justify, the length of time
taken to comply with the request.

The photocopied response letter which is attached in your response is dated '14 July 2017', yet you've only sent this to me today - on the 19th of July. I suggest that this is irrefutable evidence that your organisation has demonstrably failed to meet the legal obligation to 'comply with a request as soon as is reasonably
practicable'......... You've had the response completed for at least 5 days, but seemingly just sat on that without sending it, until you've reached the outer limits of the *separate* requirement to respond within 20 working days.

Furthermore, **since your response has merely rejected my request**, I am curious to know how you could possibly justify even the 14th of July date, given that my request was submitted on the 25th of June? This is not a rhetorical question; I would like an answer to this separate point, too.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

3) Your response states that you are refusing to release the data under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, [on the basis of Section 21 of the FOI Act] since the data is available for me to request under the terms of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

While you are correct in stating that you've no obligation to release the data under the Freedom of Information Act *per se*, it's not at all clear why you've failed to release the data in accordance with my rights under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

I refer you to The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, section 154:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002...
which states:
154
“22 Inspection etc. of documents
(1)A tenant may by notice in writing require the landlord—

(a)to afford him reasonable facilities for inspecting accounts, receipts or other documents relevant to the matters which must be dealt with in a statement of account required to be supplied to him under section 21 and for taking copies of or extracts from them, or

(b)to take copies of or extracts from any such accounts, receipts or other documents and either send them to him or afford him reasonable facilities for collecting them (as he specifies).

(6)The landlord must comply with a requirement imposed by a notice under this section within the period of twenty-one days beginning with the day on which he receives the notice.

I refer you back to my original data request, submitted 25/07/17. You will note that I did not at any point mention that the request was being made under the Freedom of Information Act... It's Lewisham Homes that has chosen to treat this as an FOI request.

As far as I can see, my data request fulfilled the requirements of requesting the data release under the terms of the The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, section 154: My request was submitted to Lewisham Homes in writing.
Therefore, as far as I can tell, Lewisham homes was obligated to respond to that data request within 21 days, which would have been by 16th July 2017. Clearly that requirement has not been met, which I contend puts you into breach of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

Furthermore, your letter of refusal to release the data suggests that I am in error by failing to address my data request specifically to Lewisham Homes' internal 'Home Ownership Service'. My data request was addressed to 'Lewisham Homes' and I would argue that it was not an unreasonable assumption of mine to expect you to forward my request to your relevant department.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

For a brief while, it almost seemed like Lewisham Homes had started to take UK data laws seriously. However, this response seems utterly shambolic and it feels like we've reverted to the dark days of how things formerly were.
I do appreciate that you've had an exceptionally high attrition rate in your customer service department, but that does not make this response any less depressing.

You are now well beyond the 21 day limit by which you should have released the data, I therefore reiterate my original request and ask that you release the data as quickly as possible, without any further shenanigans.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Williams

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Thank you for contacting the Customer Relations Team at Lewisham Homes. We
aim to respond to all emails within 2 working days.

 

If your email is about a repair, please call our contact centre on 0800
028 2 028.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Customer Relations Team

DISCLAIMER

Lewisham Homes is the trading name of Lewisham Homes Limited, which
is a company registered in England and Wales. Our registered office is
Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU.

Registered in England and Wales Company Number: 5887410

This email and its attachments may be confidential and are intended
solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views
or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not
necessarily represent those of the Lewisham Homes.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email and its attachments,
you must take no action based upon them, nor must you copy or show them
to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received
this email in error.

Although this email and any attachment are believed to be free of any
virus or other defect which might affect any computer or system into
which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility of the
recipient to ensure that they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted by any member of the Lewisham Homes for any loss or damage from
receipt or use thereof.

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Dear Mr Williams

Thank you for your email.

I am sorry you have had cause to complain about our service. We view all complaints as opportunities to learn how to do things better and we appreciate you letting us know about this.

I have logged your concerns at stage one of our complaints process under reference number 410803.

A full response will be sent to you on or before 1 August 2017.

Kind Regards

Jana Blahova

Senior Customer Relations Officer
T: 0203 889 0646

Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

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Dear Customer Relations Team,

Some points:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

* It's not clear why you appear to be switching this from a data release request, into Lewisham Homes' internal complaints process... Is it perhaps because you merely read the word 'complain' and had a knee-jerk reaction?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

* You were legally obliged to release the data by the 16th of July - which was a week ago.... So please will you NOT delay the release until the 1st of August, as you are suggesting today??

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, section 154, states that if a leaseholder requests the invoices from you, in writing, then you are obliged to release those, within 21 days.
I requested those invoices, in writing, on the 25th of June. Lewisham Homes wrote back on the 27th of June and acknowledged receipt of my written request. As far as I can tell, I've clearly fulfilled the requirements of the request, under The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

Nota bene - The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 *does NOT* state that if I want to see the invoices then I must write to Lewisham Homes's 'Home Ownership Service'; it simply states that I need to make a request to you in writing, which I've obviously done.
...... Lewisham Homes could, should it wish, declare that if leaseholders want to see the invoices, the leaseholders would need to dress in purple outfits with pink polka dots and dance a jig in Catford town centre.... But your internal policy *doesn't* supersede the act of UK law - which says all I need to do is to put a request to you in writing, which I have clearly done, on the 25th of June.

I hope that adds some clarity.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

* Would it please be possible for you to urgently run this matter past some senior management and/or your legal team?... It seems to me like the customer service team is making a big fudgey mess of dealing with this request.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

Following up on my letter last week, I'm writing to propose a suggestion: How about you release the overdue data *immediately*, then you can follow it up on the 1st of August (the date you mentioned in your most recent correspondence) with your letter discussing all of the legal breaches?

... It would be super-lovely to take a look at the receipts/invoices for the works on our property which you've billed us for, in accordance with our statutory legal rights under Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.
We can't understand why you continue to unlawfully withhold this data, at this point in time - given that it's abundantly clear what we've asked for and all you need do is have your 'Home Ownership Service' release the documents - which would presumably take no more than 5 minutes of work.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Dear Mr Williams

Thank you for your emails.

I have forwarded your points to the investigating officer who will cover these in their Stage 1 complaint response.

Kind Regards

Jana Blahova

Senior Customer Relations Officer
T: 0203 889 0646

Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

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Monica Simire, Lewisham Homes

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Williams

Please find attached our response to your complaint and another copy of our exemption letter to your FOI request.

Regards
Monica Simire
Project Support Officer
Lewisham Homes

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Dear Lewisham Homes,

It's no longer clear which framework this correspondence falls under: I made a request under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act, you stated that you were responding under the Freedom of Information Act, without consultation you now appear to have switched it to your own internal complaints procedure.
As such, I am now writing this as a general letter to address some points:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(1)

PLEASE DO NOT YET TAKE THIS TO A FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL.

I will repeat that, to reiterate the strength of our wishes:

PLEASE ***DO NOT*** YET TAKE THIS TO A FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL.

...... We received your offer to meet and discuss the matter, prior to progressing to a First Tier Tribunal.... We ***DO*** wish to have this meeting....... However, PRIOR to that meeting, we wish to understand the case fully.

As you will be aware, there is a statute in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act, whereby a leaseholder is not liable to pay for invoices which were issued to the landlord beyond a certain time limit prior to the landlord issuing the major works bill to the leaseholder.
Given that the works in question took place in 2014 and the invoice was only presented mid-way through 2017, we feel there is some possibility that some of the invoices received are beyond the aforementioned time limit by which you can hold the leaseholder liable for the charges.
Of course, this might not be the case, but it's our legal right, under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act, to view the invoices.

Once we've had the opportunity to view the invoices, we will then understand the current situation with respect to the leaseholder's liability and THEN we will be in a position to meet with you and discuss the case.
...... What you've so far suggested is that we meet to negotiate, without us even knowing what the underlying legal situation is; you are asking us to negotiate blindly and that's clearly inappropriate.

We had expected that, in accordance with the law, you would have released the invoices several weeks ago - and by this point in time right now, we would already be able to have the meeting you've offered. However, you are currently withholding those invoices, in clear breach of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

The letter you refer to, sent to the leaseholder, states the following:
'In view of previous correspondence about the statutory leaseholdconsultation carried out in the lead up to the works, I now intend to make an application to the First Tier Tribunal for dispensation.
In advance of making the application, I would like the opportunity to talk to you about this. I should be grateful if you would contact me on 0800 028 2028 or by email to [email address] to let me know your availability to meet me.'
That letter was dated 20th June 2017, but was obviously not received until several days later.
That letter *did not* set a time limit by which we needed to arrange the suggested meeting.
Upon receipt of that letter (together with the invoice), we IMMEDIATELY wrote to you here, on the 25th of June, to request a copy of the invoices, as per our statutory right under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.
For reasons that are unclear, Lewisham Homes then waited almost a month before you replied.
I urge you to take a look at the correspondence in this discussion:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
... You will note that WITHOUT EXCEPTION, I've written my replies back to you IMMEDIATELY - on the same day as we've received correspondence from Lewisham Homes.
I therefore put it to you that the delays in this case are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT DOWN TO LEWISHAM HOMES' TARDINESS IN REPLYING....... And it's therefore silly of you to now suggest that it's us that are delaying the process and failing to agree to your proposed meeting in a timely manner.

WE DEFINITELY WANT TO HAVE THE MEETING YOU PROPOSED - WE ARE JUST WAITING ON YOU TO RELEASE THE INVOICES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR LEGAL OBLIGATION UNDER THE COMMONHOLD AND LEASEHOLD REFORM ACT.... AS SOON AS YOU'VE DONE THIS, WE KNOW WHERE WE STAND AND WE ARE THEN IN A POSITION TO HAVE THE MEETING.

We could have had that meeting a month ago, were it not for Lewisham Homes' failure to respond in a timely fashion, in accordance with the law.

PLEASE DO NOT YET TAKE THIS TO A FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL, until the leaseholder has had the chance to understand the case and appreciate the different approaches that are available to us, as that would obviously be unfair; ***it would be a DELIBERATE act by the landlord to put the leaseholder at a disadvantage in the FTT***.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(2)

Please immediately release the invoices, as requested, in accordance with Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

We requested these from you, in writing, on the 25th of June 2017. You were legally obliged to release these, by the 16th of July 2017. You are currently unlawfully withholding this data.

It's absolutely NOT acceptable for you to say we will *eventually* receive this data, but only once we are already into a First Tier Tribunal: The leaseholder has a statutory right to be able to view this data within 21 days, upon written request.

At this point, it couldn't possibly be any more clear that we've requested that you release the invoices.
You've made no attempt to explain why you continue to withhold this data...... But it's certainly starting to feel to me like you are now ***deliberately withholding*** the invoices (perhaps because you are aware that they are now past the time limit by which you could bill the leaseholder for them??).

Please immediately release the invoices, as requested, in accordance with our statutory legal rights under Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(3)

I've made the original request here, on this public forum, since Lewisham Homes *habitually* lies about timelines: Over the past few years, you've now THREE TIMES lied about dates that letters were written/sent.

By keeping our correspondence here, I have a public record of when you sent correspondence and it therefore makes it easier for me to demonstrate when correspondence was sent and what was discussed. Furthermore, I can simply include a link to this discussion, in future cases (eg with a FTT).

The first letter from me in this data request was a request for general data, pertaining to the building 17 to 30 Peters Path. This is obviously not *personal data*.

For some reason, in your letter today, you've chosen to publicly release my *personal data*, without my consent: My first initial and my residential address... I put it to you that this constitutes a breach of The Data Protection Act 1998.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(4)

It seems apparent to me that Lewisham Homes is trying to be sneaky in this case - rather than follow standard protocol of waiting to allow the leaseholder to raise a complete complaint, featuring ALL of the many reasons why the Major Works bill might not be valid - you appear to be attempting to rush into the process of the FTT.

(Putting aside for now the many previous legal breaches...) Just solely in the handling of this single data request, it's my understanding that you've so far breached the following acts:

* Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002

* Section 10 (1) of the The Freedom of Information Act

* Data Protection Act 1998

I urge you to stop behaving in this manner and instead act both professionally and in accordance with the law.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I request that you respond to this letter ***as soon as is reasonably practicable***.

I request that you address all of the four points raised above.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

PS.... Could you maybe just pause for a moment and ask yourselves:
What are you actually gaining from this unlawful, abusive approach?
Might it make more sense to simply release the invoices and then we can have the meeting you proposed?

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

I wish to add some further important points to my correspondence sent yesterday:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Your most recent letter in this conversation states the following:
'We invited Mrs Williams to meet with us as we felt this would be a useful way forward. However, we have not heard from her.'
.... Of all the silly things that Lewisham Homes has said over the years, this has to be one of the silliest: The leaseholder, Mrs Williams, is Japanese and has limited knowledge of UK bureaucracy. As Lewisham Homes is hyper-aware, the leaseholder has designated me, Mr Williams, to represent her in dealing with these matters.

Since we received the bill for major works, on the 24th of June 2017 (just 34 days ago), I've contacted Lewisham Homes on this matter in the following ways:
* 2x phone calls to your Home Ownership Service on 26/06/17 - I ultimately got through to Barbara Cummings (Leasehold Billing & Recovery Officer), who responded to this call with an email on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 12:20 PM.
* 1x letter sent to you by recorded delivery, posted 26/06/2017, ref: GK240422625GB, to explain that we were not making immediate payment as it was our intention to dispute the charges.
* 1x phone call on 05/07/17 at approximately 16.50 hrs, to your Home Ownership Service, I spoke to a lady named 'Sylvie', who confirmed that Lewisham Homes had received the recorded delivery letter and put our payment on hold.
* Now 7 x letters sent here so far in this chain of correspondence.

............ So.... To claim that you've 'not heard from us' is pretty ridiculous, isn't it?????

WE ARE HERE AND MAKING EVERY EFFORT TO ENGAGE WITH YOU.

Furthermore, I want to point out that, over the past couple of years, I've been *continually* writing to Lewisham Homes, every few months, to request that you send us this invoice for these major works.
Specifically, I've written emails (including a formal complaint, reference 389719) to proactively request the invoice (or ask when we can expect to eventually receive it), on the following dates/times:
* Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 6:30 PM
* Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 4:10 PM
* Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 5:09 PM
* Sat, Nov 26, 2016 at 9:40 AM
* Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 5:25 PM
* Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 5:21 PM
......................... We're here, we're present, we're absolutely burning with eagerness to deal with this matter.
When we've finally received the major works bill, I've immediately written to you to request the invoices the landlord has received...... And I've *immediately* responded to all correspondence in this chain of conversation. We literally couldn't possibly be any more proactive and present here in working to resolve this matter. 100% of the delay here has been caused by Lewisham Homes' failure to respond in a timely manner. It's therefore outrageous that your most recent letter is suggesting that it's *us* that has been stalling this process and we are unwilling to engage; this couldn't be any more opposite from the truth of the situation.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Secondly, your most recent correspondence here:

A) Acknowledges that Lewisham Homes is aware that we've requested to see the invoices, in writing, under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

B) Acknowledges that Lewisham Homes is now overdue in making this data available to us.

So........ What on Earth are you doing here? It's really hard to understand how you are so flagrantly breaking the law.

I can only speculate that someone has decided 'oh, well, we've *already* broken that law, so let's just roll on with it, since the damage is already done'........ However, I don't think that's how the law works; you are still under obligation to release this data and your continuing, deliberate withholding of this data is making the legal breach ever worse as more time passes. It's an egregious abuse of your power as (representative of) the landlord. The entire point of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act is to prevent situations like this.

Please immediately release the invoices, as requested, in accordance with Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

Since we are not making much progress here in writing, I just telephoned your customer service department and spoke to Jana Blahova.
Ms. Blahova told me that no one is available to discuss this matter with me, since the relevant people are all either away for a long-weekend, or 'in meetings'.
When I enquired about the matter of the overdue invoices [as requested under The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002], I was told that Lewisham Homes has "had a meeting with the legal team and they've decided they don't want to release the invoices to you"............. Of course, I'm already aware that this is the case................... What I'd really love to know - and what you've so far avoided saying - is WHAT IS YOUR JUSTIFICATION FOR WITHHOLDING THE DATA????..... Perhaps there is some legal loophole that I'm missing - but I would really love an explanation of your justification and I think it's only fair that you provide that if you are going to continue to withhold the data.
Ms. Blahova told me I will receive a written response from you here, on Monday. I'd be very grateful if you will address all points I've raised since your last correspondence.... Including the question of WHAT IS YOUR JUSTIFICATION FOR WITHHOLDING THE DATA????

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

I've just received the communication that you've sent directly to my email account - sent Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 5:49 PM.
In that email, Lewisham Homes is finally agreeing to let us view the invoices. Thank you for this.

The leaseholder, Mrs Williams is currently on holiday, touring around the USA and will be there for some time.
As I mentioned to Jana Blahova on the telephone on Friday, I have just come overseas [to Germany] for my work.
It's obviously not desirable for either of us to fly to the UK, at a cost of several days' time and hundreds of pounds in money, just to view some documents which could be digitally scanned with about two minutes' work.

I acknowledge that the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act only stipulates that the landlord must 'make the invoices available for inspection'. You would therefore *technically* be fulfilling the legal requirement, simply by saying we are welcome to fly to the UK to see the documents.
However, I respectfully request that, in the spirit of cooperation, Lewisham Homes goes a teensy tiny amount of effort beyond your legal statutory minimum requirement - by scanning the invoices and publishing them here (or sending directly to my email).
Particularly given the fact that Lewisham Homes has already gone several weeks beyond the legal limit before agreeing to make these documents available, I hope you'll agree that this is a reasonable request.

I recognise there's an obvious opportunity here for Lewisham Homes to use this issue as a further obstacle to the leaseholder making progress with the case. I beg you please to try and resist the temptation to apply that obstacle... To insist that the only way I can obtain this data would be by flying to London would seem like an act of spite........ Especially since this data could be requested digitally under an FOI request by *anyone other than* the leaseholder [since the exemption you cited (S.21 the data is accessible by other means) in your letter of 19th July is only applicable to the leaseholder; literally *anyone* else could request the *exact same* data under the FOI Act].

Please respond as soon as reasonably practicable, to let us know Lewisham Homes' stance on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

Further to my last email, I'm writing with the following two points:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1) The time I quoted from your most recent email communication was my local time, here in Germany.
Just for accuracy of the record, in the UK that time would have been 4.49 pm.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

2) I fired off my last message here in a bit of a dash, before I headed out to dinner.

My earlier response was directed by the following words from your email -

'I now invite Mrs Williams to our office for the inspection. Please can you contact us on 0800 028 2 028 or by email to [email address] to confirm Mrs Williams’ availability to attend our offices and complete the inspection.'

.... Which naturally led me to think of Section 154 (1) (a).

However - I've just re-read the legislation afresh and now note that Section 154 (1) (b) states that (as an alternative to us coming to your premises to inspect the documents) we do have the right to ask for you to send the data to us... Which is obviously what we've been asking for all along.

I already quoted this legislation here (in my message of the 19th July), but I'll copy & paste it again, for your convenience:

--------------------------------------------
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002...

154
“22 Inspection etc. of documents
(1)A tenant may by notice in writing require the landlord—

(a)to afford him reasonable facilities for inspecting accounts, receipts or other documents relevant to the matters which must be dealt with in a statement of account required to be supplied to him under section 21 and for taking copies of or extracts from them, or

(b)to take copies of or extracts from any such accounts, receipts or other documents and either send them to him or afford him reasonable facilities for collecting them (as he specifies).
--------------------------------------------

So, to link Section 154's introduction and clause b:

'A tenant may by notice in writing require the landlord to take copies of or extracts from any such accounts, receipts or other documents and either send them to him or afford him reasonable facilities for collecting them (as he specifies).'

........... Which, if I'm understanding that correctly, means that the landlord is not merely obliged to make the invoices available for inspection (as per Section 154 (1) (a) [and as per your most recent email communication]).... But also the landlord is obliged to 'send them' to the tenant, if the tenant asks for this.

It's *abundantly* clear from all of our prior communications that we wanted you to send us the documents.
For the record, I state this explicitly: Please send us the data.

Since your email today also stated 'the invoices are now ready for Mrs Williams to inspect', it seems Lewisham Homes has *already prepared* the relevant documents.
As such, I hope there will be no further delay in releasing these documents - and you'll send them over to us immediately (since Lewisham Homes is now already 16 days beyond the maximum date by which you should have released this data (16th July 2017) in accordance with Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002).

As the data relates to the building (17 to 30 Peters Path), it is *not* personal data. We request that you release the data here as attachments on this website, as a continuation of the conversation https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i... .... This then keeps things tidy and it's easier for us all to refer back to this chain of correspondence (eg in a First Tier Tribunal) and we have a public record of the dates on which correspondence was sent.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

Given the spiraling mess that this this data request has fallen into, plus your continuing failure to release the data, I've just telephoned the ICO and spoken with caseworker Shemiah Thomas. I've explained the situation to her and obtained advice about the legislation.

The ICO has today informed me of the following:

Although Lewisham homes is aware of my relationship to the leaseholder and the history of me acting on the leaseholder's behalf, ***for the sake of this data request PER SE*** (which I submitted to you here, on 25th of June 2017) it was 'not reasonable' for Lewisham Homes to deny me the data by citing Section 21 ('the information is reasonably accessible by other means') as the requester in this case was not actually the leaseholder, so technically the information is not actually available to the requester, per se.
The ICO tells me that you were wrong to cite Section 21 and you should have released the data to me.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As far as I can see, my data request *dually* meets the requirements of *both acts* simultaneously:

* It meets the requirements of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, section 154, in that I've written on behalf of the leaseholder to request the invoices.

* It also meets the requirements of The Freedom of Information Act, without you being able to cite exemption under Section 21, since the requester in this case is not technically the leaseholder, per se.

I appreciate that the situation is quite complex, however, I think that whichever way you want to look at it, what's ultra clear at this point is that Lewisham Homes DOES have a legal obligation to release that data, yet you are still continuing to withhold it.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As mentioned in my letter here earlier today, Section 154 (b) of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 says that the leaseholder can request that you SEND the data to them.

The The Freedom of Information Act allows the requester to specify how they would like to receive the data, which includes the option to have it sent digitally.

Speaking dually - both as representative of the leaseholder, plus as myself, the data requester - I REQUEST THAT YOU PUBLISH THE REQUESTED DATA HERE, IN THIS CONVERSATION CHAIN - ON https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
.... Besides having a clear public record of the conversation, this also makes things much clearer for if this case is ultimately escalated to the ICO for a review of Lewisham Homes' handling of the data request (ie, it will be much less clear for everyone if you ultimately release the data by emailing it to me directly, so please do not do that).

I REQUEST THAT YOU PUBLISH THE REQUESTED DATA HERE, IN THIS CONVERSATION CHAIN, ON https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Given that the ICO has said that my original data request is actually valid as an FOI request and that Lewisham Homes' decision to cite Section 21 was not appropriate, I now ask that you conduct a formal Internal Review, as per the protocol of the Freedom of Information Act.

I wish for that Internal Review to include at least the following concerns:

* Inappropriately citing Section 21 of the FOI Act as a reason for withholding the data.

* The fact that Lewisham Homes has continued to withhold the data, despite it now being extremely overdue.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Having taken advice from the ICO today, I wish to formally raise a separate concern, regarding Lewisham Homes' breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998:

Principle 1: Personal information must be fairly and lawfully processed.

Principle 7: Personal information must be secure.

... These principles were breached, when you chose to publish my home address here, on this public website.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Really, at this point, Lewisham Homes' shenanigans are starting to get a bit silly.... I suggest that it's super clear what data we've requested. Lewisham Homes is dually obligated to have released that data, under both the FOI Act and under The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act, yet you still continue to withhold that data.

You've said that you have already got the data prepared.... Please IMMEDIATELY release that data, by publishing it here at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Subsequently, you can then later follow up with the FOI internal review and your response to my concerned raised about the breaches of the DPA.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

I forgot to mention - please *also* incorporate the following issue within the scope of the FOI Internal Review:

* Given that Lewisham Homes' response was to simply decline to release the data, why was it necessary to wait almost a month before providing a response to my request?
It appears to me like you did not respond 'as soon as reasonably practicable', so, in accordance with your obligation to do so (Section 10 (1) of the The Freedom of Information Act), please justify the length of time taken to provide the response.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Dear Lewisham Homes,

On the very first line of your first message in this conversation, you wrote:
'We aim to respond to all emails within 2 working days.'
In spite of that, we've not received even an acknowledgement of receipt of the message I sent you here on Monday 31st July, when it's now Thursday 3rd of August.
This in itself wouldn't ordinarily be so significant, if it were some general enquiry.... However - given the nature of the fact you're now *massively overdue* on the legal limit for having sent the requested data - it's disappointing that you're no longer even meeting your stated minimum service standards, let alone showing this case due gravitas.

- It seems like it's clear to all parties now that Lewisham Homes was legally obliged to have sent the requested data to us by 16th July 2017 **at the very latest**.
- On the phone to you last week, I was informed that Lewisham Homes is aware of this situation, but following a meeting with the legal team, you've made a decision that you "don't want to release the invoices" to us.
- You've so far refused to explain your justification for choosing to withhold the data, despite the fact I've now been asking you that specific question for the past 6 days.
- You're now not even meeting the service standard you specified of responding within 2 working days, which makes it seem like you're ignoring us entirely.
- As of today (03/08/17), you are already 18 days beyond the legal maximum date (16/07/17) by which you should have sent us the data we requested (way back on the 25/06/17). This is practically DOUBLE the legal time limit already (39 days passed so far, versus the 21 day legal maximum).

You've said outright that Lewisham Homes is intentionally withholding the data.
My suspicion is that you are doing this because you know the content of the data is inconvenient for Lewisham Homes, with respect to the leaseholder challenging the bill for major works that you've presented her (it's hard to imagine any other possible reason for these protracted shenanigans).
This appears to me like a government-owned ALMO deliberately conspiring to deny the legal rights of the residents you are supposed to be serving... 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.'

* Please may we finally have the data?

* If you are going to continue to withhold the data, please will you explain your justification for doing so?

* Please will you agree to conduct the Internal Review I asked for on the mishandling of the FOI request?

* Please will you agree to respond to my concern raised about the breach of the DPA?

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Williams

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Dear Mr Williams

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that we have registered your request for an internal review ref: 407685.

You will receive a response by 29 August 2017.

In the future please note, any request for FOI, reviews or complaints should be send to customer relations directly.

Kind Regards

Jana Blahova

Senior Customer Relations Officer
T: 0203 889 0646

Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Customer Relations Team,

I'm flabbergasted by your message here today. Extreme shenanigans!

... For sure - take until the 29th of August for the Internal Review of your FOI response that's fine.

However, that Internal Review obviously doesn't afford you a 45 day extension **beyond** the 21 days you needed to send us the data, under the terms of the The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, section 154.

Furthermore, I argue that you are duty bound to release the data *immediately*under the the terms of the FOI Act.... Just because you are doing an Internal Review, does mean you no longer need to release the data 'promptly'/'as soon as reasonably practicable'.
You've explicitly stated that you've already prepared the data, ready for release..... So how can you possibly think it's lawful for you to now sit on that until the 29th of August (26 days from now). That's completely ludicrous.

In your email sent directly to me on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 5:49 PM, you state the following:
'In compliance with your request, and in accordance with the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002, the invoices are now ready for Mrs Williams to inspect.'
It's therefore clear that you accept that we did make a valid request for the invoices, under the the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002. That request was made on 25/06/17 and thus the data should have been released no later than 16/07/17. You are now 18 days beyond the legal maximum date. This is practically DOUBLE the legal time limit already (39 days passed so far, versus the 21 day legal maximum).
It's blindingly obvious that the Internal Review of the FOI request has absolutely zero impact on your obligation to release the data under the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

It seems to me like my request was valid under *both* the FOI Act *and* the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act...... But whichever way you choose to look at it, surely at least one of those regulations applies.
* Under FOI, the data should have been released as soon as reasonably practicable and no later than 24/07/17
* Under the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act, the data should have been released no later than 16/07/17
Whichever one you go for, that data is now severely overdue.
.......... So, given that you've explicitly stated that the data is already prepared for release, how can you possibly imagine it's lawful for you to continue to sit on that now, deliberately withholding the data?!
It's pure farce!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I keep repeating specific questions to you, yet you are totally ignoring them. Given this, I hereby make a new Stage One complaint. Please address ALL of the following questions, within that complaint:

1) PLEASE WILL YOU NOW FINALLY SEND US A COPY OF THE REQUESTED DATA (which you've stated that you've already prepared)?

2) ON 28/07/17, Jana Blahova told me on the phone that - after a meeting with the legal team - Lewisham Homes has decided to actively withhold the requested data from us (you obviously have a recording of this call and you can listen to it for yourselves).
IF YOU ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO WITHHOLD THE DATA, PLEASE STATE YOUR JUSTIFICATION FOR CONTINUING TO DELIBERATELY WITHHOLD THE DATA, DESPITE THE FACT IT'S *MASSIVELY* OVERDUE.

3) PLEASE WILL YOU ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF MY CONCERN RAISED ABOUT THE BREACH OF DPA, SUBMITTED TO YOU ON 01/08/17?:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
I made it very clear that this was a separate issue, distinct from the Internal Review; the DPA is different legislation from the FOI Act and needs to be addressed separately.

4) I've repeatedly asked you to cease your stated plan of taking this matter to a First Tier Tribunal. You've so far neglected to comment on this.
PLEASE WILL YOU EXPLICITLY CONFIRM THAT YOU WILL NOT PROGRESS THIS MATTER TO A FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL, IN THE NEAR FUTURE, AS YOU HAD PREVIOUSLY INDICATED THAT YOU INTENDED TO?

5) I sent you a letter by recorded delivery, posted 26/06/2017, ref: GK240422625GB, to explain that we were not making immediate payment as it was our intention to dispute the charges.
On on 05/07/17 at approximately 16.50 hrs, I spoke to a lady named 'Sylvie' in your Home Ownership Service, who confirmed that Lewisham Homes had received the recorded delivery letter and put our payment on hold. She sounded dazed & confused (you can listen to that call), but stated that we would receive a letter in the post to confirm that the expected payment was put on hold. To date, we've still not received that letter in the post.
PLEASE WILL YOU CONFIRM THAT THE EXPECTED PAYMENT HAS BEEN PUT ON HOLD, WHILE WE GO THROUGH THE PROCESS OF DISPUTING THIS CHARGE?

To respond to these questions, you won't need to reveal any personal data that isn't already posted here in this discussion.
.... IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY YOU RESPONDED TO COMPLAINT Ref: 410803, I THEREFORE REQUEST THAT YOU POST THE RESPONSE TO THIS COMPLAINT ****HERE IN THIS CONVERSATION ON WEBSITE https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i... ****.
.... Lewisham Homes' responses to these questions will obviously be of relevance when the ICO and the FTT later look into your handling of this matter, so it's clearly for the best that we keep the discussion all here in one place, together with clear chronology and irrefutable date stamps.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Separately, I request that you have a quick look back at how Lewisham Homes has handled this case, then consider if you feel it's responsible behaviour, befitting of a government owned ALMO.... The leaseholder has requested to see a copy of the invoices that comprise the Major Works bill you've sent her for more than £10k...... Which is obviously her legal right under the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002.... But even if it weren't a statutory legal right, don't you think that's a reasonable request to make anyway?
To paraphrase this sprawling mess, the conversation has essentially gone like this:

Lewisham Homes: 'Here's a bill for £10k+'

Leaseholder: 'Okay, sure, but will you show me what the bill is for/what charges make up the bill?'

Lewisham Homes: 'No, it's a secret. We've had a meeting with the legal team and we've decided we don't want to tell you.'

.... It's a pretty silly situation, don't you think???

Wacky hijinks!

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Williams

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Thank you for contacting the Customer Relations Team at Lewisham Homes. We
aim to respond to all emails within 2 working days.

 

If your email is about a repair, please call our contact centre on 0800
028 2 028.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Customer Relations Team

DISCLAIMER

Lewisham Homes is the trading name of Lewisham Homes Limited, which
is a company registered in England and Wales. Our registered office is
Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU.

Registered in England and Wales Company Number: 5887410

This email and its attachments may be confidential and are intended
solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views
or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not
necessarily represent those of the Lewisham Homes.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email and its attachments,
you must take no action based upon them, nor must you copy or show them
to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received
this email in error.

Although this email and any attachment are believed to be free of any
virus or other defect which might affect any computer or system into
which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility of the
recipient to ensure that they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted by any member of the Lewisham Homes for any loss or damage from
receipt or use thereof.

PS

In lieu of you ever stating what your justifications are, we are left to speculate on what you might be thinking.

My best guess right now is that you've thought:
'A-ha! Gotcha!... If you were writing the original request in your own name [ie, which makes Lewisham Homes citing S.21 exemption in the FOI response invalid], then that means that you weren't writing the original on behalf of the leaseholder, which means the request is not valid under Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002'.

... Something like that?

If that is the case, then I think your logic is flawed:

In my original request, I *was* writing on behalf of the leaseholder. I still believe that request was valid, under the terms of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 - and that you should have sent that data by the 16/07/17.

......... What the ICO has said on Monday is that - because my original request did not explicitly state that I was writing on behalf of the leaseholder, you should not have assumed that I was, simply based on previous communications.... So, technically, it was not valid for you to cite S.21 exemption, because the data requester was not the leaseholder PER SE. This means that, due to the wording of the request, it happens that it was *also* valid as an FOI request [**as well as** a request under Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act].

I appreciate this may seem like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it.... But I'm only relaying to you what the ICO caseworker Shemiah Thomas pointed out to me on the phone, on Monday.

.... So, it seems the request was simultaneously valid under both acts:

* I made the request on behalf of the leaseholder, under Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

* Because I did not explicitly specify that I was making the request on behalf of the leaseholder, then, (according to the ICO) it just so happens that technically, it was simultaneously valid as an FOI.

.......... I appreciate I've already alluded to much of this previously, but I just wanted to spell this out in black and white, in case your legal team were getting themselves a bit confuddled again.
I hope this provides some clarity and you will now see fit to release the requested data immediately.

Anyway, it seems like you've decided to go the route of now treating this solely as an FOI, so I'm going to get the leaseholder to write to you directly, to make a *parallel* request under Section 154 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act [despite the existing one being blatantly valid], then hopefully we can put an end to this grand farce that you've created instead of simply releasing the data at the outset.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Williams

Charisma Hyman, Lewisham Homes

5 Attachments

Dear Mr Williams,

 

Please see attached response to your complaint, I hope this resolves your
complaint.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Charisma Hyman

Leasehold Consultation Officer

Lewisham Homes
Home Ownership Services, Old Town Hall, Catford, London SE6 4RU
T: 0800 028 2028 [1]E: [email address]
[2]www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

   [3]IIP_GOLD_SOLID_19_0

 

DISCLAIMER

Lewisham Homes is the trading name of Lewisham Homes Limited, which
is a company registered in England and Wales. Our registered office is
Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London, SE6 4RU.

Registered in England and Wales Company Number: 5887410

This email and its attachments may be confidential and are intended
solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views
or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not
necessarily represent those of the Lewisham Homes.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email and its attachments,
you must take no action based upon them, nor must you copy or show them
to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received
this email in error.

Although this email and any attachment are believed to be free of any
virus or other defect which might affect any computer or system into
which they are received and opened, it is the responsibility of the
recipient to ensure that they are virus free and no responsibility is
accepted by any member of the Lewisham Homes for any loss or damage from
receipt or use thereof.

References

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Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Dear Mr Williams

Thank you for your email.

This was forwarded to Colin Burns, Audit Risk and Compliance Manager, who will carry out the internal review of your FOI request ref: 407685.

As advised previously, you will response will be send on or before 29 August 2017.

Kind Regards

Jana Blahova

Senior Customer Relations Officer
T: 0203 889 0646

Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

Dear Mr Williams

Thank you for your email.

Your additional information was also forwarded to Colin Burns, Audit Risk and Compliance Manager, who will carry out the internal review of your FOI request ref: 407685.

Stage 1 complaint will be also raised separately and I will shortly send you an acknowledgement email.

Kind Regards

Jana Blahova

Senior Customer Relations Officer
T: 0203 889 0646

Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
www.lewishamhomes.org.uk

Customer Relations Team, Lewisham Homes

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Williams,

Please find attached details of the Internal Review, conducted by Colin Burns, in respect of your FOI Request reef: 407685.

Please feel free to contact him if you wish to discuss this further.

Kind Regards,

Customer Relations Team

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