Scroll down the page to find answers to the following frequently-asked questions:

  -   How can I get a lease extension?

  -   How do I apply for permission to make internal structural changes?

  -   I want to replace my windows what do I need to do?

  -   Do I have to comply with the Building Regulations if I do any work in my flat?

  -   I have an old bathroom suite (some old carpeting, furniture, kitchen cabinets, a washing machine) to
       get rid of
can I leave it in the dustbin sheds?

  -   I want to rent out my flat at Queenswood Gardens.  Is there anything I need to do and anyone that
      I should tell?

  -   Hull & Company want to get into my flat to inspect it they say they need to check for a water leak.
      Do I have to let them in?

  -   My energy company wants to change my meter, and need to gain access to the electricity cupboard in
       the main hallway.  Where can I get the keys to the cupboard?

  -   Can I install my own satellite dish?

  -   Is there any asbestos at Queenswood Gardens?  Has an asbestos survey been carried out?

  -   My flat is affected by condensation/damp/mould.  Can I install additional air-bricks to deal with this?

  -   Where can I find the lessee's covenants and other rules that apply to me?

   -   I've noticed that some garages have T-bar style locks on them - are these provided by
       Queenswood Management Association Ltd?  If not, where can I get one?

   -   Can I have cavity wall insulation installed in the external walls of my flat?

   -   I have lost my magnetic front-door fob/I would like to get an additional fob - how can I get a
        replacement/an additional fob?

   -   Where can I find details of what services Hull & Co provide?  If I want them to investigate a problem
        in my flat, will I have to pay them, or is this covered by their annual payment from QMAL?

   -   I have an ongoing dispute with a neighbour.  What should I do to get it resolved?


How can I get a lease extension?

All lessees who have held a lease on a flat for at least two years are entitled to a 90-year lease extension by law.  The premium payable for the extension depends on the market value of the flat (with and without the extension) at the time the extension is granted. 

If you are interested in getting a lease extension, then the first step is to ask Hull & Company to do a formal valuation on your property.  They  will do the valuation and use it to calculate a proposed premium, using a formula set out in legislation.  Once the proposed premium has been approved by Queenswood Gardens Ltd ("QGL"), it will be sent to you.  If you accept the proposal, then the legal process of extending the lease starts; Ormerods, QGL's solicitors, will do this together with your solicitors.  When all the necessary documents have been prepared and signed off, and the premium paid, you'll have a lease extension and will be entitled to become an ordinary shareholder in QGL normally an automatic course of action with the £1.00 cost being met out of the premium you've paid. 

In  addition to paying the lease extension premium, you will also have to pay the costs of Hull & Company's valuation work plus QGL's legal costs.

How do I apply for permission to make internal structural changes?

If you want to make any structural changes inside your flat removing partition walls, or replacing the staircase if you're in one of the top-level flats, for instance you do need to get prior approval from Queenswood Gardens Ltd.  Please write to QGL, explaining what you want to do with a diagram or two if appropriate and we'll get back to you as soon as possible with our decision.

I want to replace my windows what do I need to do?

If you're thinking of replacing your windows, you also need to get prior permission.  You need to submit a request in writing, with diagrams showing the new window configuration.  QGL has produced a one-page guide to its minimum requirements for replacement windows, based on the need for adequate ventilation and fire safety provisions.  Click here to download the guide.  Please note that ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that any replacement windows you install meet the minimum requirements.  if you install replacements that do not meet QGL's minimum standards, you will be required to replace them with compliant windows.

Do I have to comply with the Building Regulations if I do any work in my flat?

If you are contemplating any building work a new bathroom, a new kitchen or removing a partition wall for example you must ensure that it complies with the Building Regulations.  The government has published a handy guide to the regulations, which you can download here.  Note that as a general rule, QGL takes compliance with the government-published Approved Documents associated with the Building Regulations as the starting point for giving approval for any work needing its endorsement.


I have an old bathroom suite (some old carpeting, furniture, kitchen cabinets, a washing machine) to get rid of can I leave it in the dustbin sheds?

No, the bins are for ordinary domestic rubbish only.  If you leave your bathroom suite/furniture/cabinets/washing machine in the bin sheds, they will not be taken away by the normal bin-men.  QMAL will have to make arrangements for the item(s) to be removed and pay a fee, which is much higher than a resident would pay as QMAL is classified as a commercial company and has to pay commercial disposal rates.  Ultimately, of course, this fee is paid by you through your service charges.  You need to make your own arrangements for proper disposal of all oversize items there are private firms who will do this for you, or you can contact Redbridge Council who also offer a service (with reduced rates for pensioners) they can be reached on 020 8554 5000.


I want to rent out my flat at Queenswood Gardens.  Is there anything I need to do and anyone that I should tell?

If you have a mortgage, or an insurance policy covering your flat's contents, fixtures and fittings, you probably need to tell your mortgage company and your insurer.  As far as we are concerned, you do need to let us know the name and contact details of your tenant (so that we know how to get hold of them in the event of an emergency, for example).  You also need to let us know, through Hull & Company, your own new address and contact phone numbers, so that we can contact you, too, if the need should arise.  In accordance with rules introduced under section 3(f) of the lease, you need to ensure that the lessee's covenants in the lease and those rules form part of your tenant's sub-lease and you need to provide a copy of that sub-lease to Hull & Company (we're not interested in how much rent you're charging, so feel free to blank that out in the copy you send to us).  And do remember that even if you are renting out your property, you still remain liable for all service and other charges, and ground rent if it is payable.  Should you fall behind in making the necessary payments, your tenants could lose their parking permits and you'll have to explain that to them!

Hull & Company want to get into my flat to inspect it they say they need to check for a water leak.  Do I have to let them in?

Under the terms of your lease (clauses 3(h) and 3(i) to be precise) Hull & Company, QGL and QMAL all have rights of entry to your flat, on reasonable notice, to check its condition and to do repairs or require you to do any necessary repairs.   These rights are only used sparingly, and when there is no other option in, for example, determining the source of a major leak or fixing some other problem for the benefit of other lessees.  Whilst we don't wish to be heavy-handed, in cases where a lessee consistently refuses access, or will not co-operate with Hull & Company, QGL or QMAL, we might bring in a locksmith to gain entry to a flat where a significant problem is suspected.  All associated costs would, of course, be passed on to the uncooperative lessee.

My energy company wants to change my meter, and need to gain access to the electricity cupboard in the main hallway.  Where can I get the keys to the cupboard?

The cupboards are kept locked for health and safety reasons and we do not hand out the keys to lessees or residents.  If you need to gain access to the cupboards, you should contact either Bob Haswell (flat 19) or Len Kerridge (flat 135).  You must give them at least two full working days' notice in advance of any work being carried out.  That means, for example, that if work is schedule to be carried out on a Thursday, you need to contact Bob or Len on the previous Monday at the latest.  If work is scheduled for a Monday, then you need to contact one of them on the previous Wednesday at the latest.  If you just phone one of them, or turn up on his doorstep, at the time you need access, then you will not be able to access the cupboards at that time, and will have to make another appointment with the energy company.


Can I install my own satellite dish?

No, individual satellite dishes are not permitted on the estate.  All blocks at Queenswood Gardens have an integrated reception system ("IRS") that delivers free-to-air TV (including Freeview), satellite TV and radio signals to each flat through a four-way connector located in your lounge although you still need to provide a Freeview or Sky TV box yourself.  If your flat has not been fitted with the connector, it means that you or your predecessor did not take up QMAL's offer of free connection to the system when it was originally installed.  If you're not wired into the IRS and would like to be connected, you will need to contact our authorised contractors to arrange for them to connect you; Darren White at Hull & Co (020 8518 0131 or sales@hullco.co.uk) will be able to give you details of our current contractor and how to contact them.  You will need to explain to them that you want your flat to be connected to the Queenswood Gardens IRS system, and that you're not just calling them to connect your TV set to the aerial.  You will also have to pay the costs of the connection yourself, as the free connection period has expired.

Is there any asbestos at Queenswood Gardens?  Has an asbestos survey been carried out?

As far as we know, no asbestos was used when Queenswood Gardens was built, except in the black panels on the external walls.  An asbestos survey was carried out in early 2010 the full survey reports for each block are available here.  Obviously, we do not know if any lessees have used any asbestos within their flats as a result of any internal structural changes, or in domestic appliances, etc., installed in any individual flat.


My flat is affected by condensation/damp/mould.  Can I install additional air-bricks to deal with this?

Generally speaking, QGL does not authorise additional air-bricks except in very, very special cases, when our surveyors, Hull & Co., advise us that this is the only way that the problem can be addressed.  The chances that they would be approved are very small, and if you install unauthorised air-bricks you will be required to remove them and reinstate the wall to its original condition.

Condensation is a product of lifestyle.  The air we breathe contains water-borne moisture in the form of vapour.  The warmer the air the more vapour that can be held.  When warm air meets a cold area, such as an outside wall or window the temperature drops and the air can no longer hold all the water vapour it previously held.  Water then condenses out onto the cold surface creating an environment in which mould can grow.  The “mould” effect is worsened in poorly ventilated stagnant areas behind furniture and curtains, etc.  Good ventilation is a necessity. 

Windows should ideally incorporate trickle vents and double position keeps.  This will enable the windows to be locked into a venting position.  The lack of ventilation encourages condensation.  When bathing and showering, steam will migrate from the bathroom to the rest of the property, if the door is kept open.  Moisture generated through cooking, bathing and drying clothes has to go somewhere and will condense on cold surfaces such as windows and external walls.

In order to mitigate the situation Hull & Co. recommend the following:

1.      Maintain permanent ventilation by leaving windows in venting positions.

2.      When bathing or showering keep the door closed and keep extractor fans (if fitted) running or vents open until the moisture vapour has cleared.

3.      When cooking keep the kitchen door closed to prevent steam migrating throughout the whole property.

4.      Do not dry clothes over radiators.  A properly vented tumble drier or condensing tumble drier could be purchased to facilitate this.

The situation can also be improved by using an electric de-humidifier.  De-humidifiers can be purchased from B & Q and other DIY merchants for around £100 and use approximately 150 watts of electricity.  Providing they are emptied regularly they are quite efficient at removing moisture from within the flat to prevent condensation. 

When decorating areas affected by mould growth, the growths should be killed with an anti-fungicidal solution, Dulux manufacture one or as an alternative diluted bleach can be used.


Where can I find the lessee's covenants and other rules that apply to me?

You can download the main lessees' covenants, plus rules introduced under section 3(f) of the lease, here.

I've noticed that some garages have T-bar style locks on them - are these provided by Queenswood Management Association Ltd?  If not, where can I get one?

The T-bar style locks (they're known as "garage defenders") at ground level on garage doors are not provided by us - they have been installed by individual owners.   They can be purchased from, amongst others, B&Q and cost around £80.00.  According to the product information on the B&Q website, they take about an hour to fit and don't require much in the way of specialist skills, either.  We do encourage garage owners to make sure that their garages are as secure as possible, but of course, the choice is up to you there are plenty of other security devices on the market just make sure that you use something and don't give an opportunist thief an easy life.


Can I have cavity wall insulation installed in the external walls of my flat?

Cavity wall insulation has already been installed at Queenswood Gardens.  The work was carried out in mid-1997 in each block.  The lessees of all flats were provided with a certificate for a 25-year guarantee, issued by CIGA (the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency).  If you have lost yours, or it wasn't passed on to you when you moved here if that was after 1997, then you should be able to get a replacement guarantee certificate from CIGA.  You can contact them by phone on 01525 853300, or by email at info@ciga.co.uk - you can check out their website at www.ciga.co.uk


I have lost my magnetic front-door fob/I would like to get an additional fob - how can I get a replacement/and additional fob?

Replacement/additional fobs are available on request from our contractor, Keith Dougall, who can be contacted on 07734 749882.  In some cases you may need to obtain authorisation from Hull & Co. before an order for new fobs can be accepted. 

The cost for a replacement/additional fob is £20 per fob.   This covers delivery of the new fob to an address at Queenswood Gardens; delivery to any off-site address will attract an additional charge.  All orders must be processed via Mr Dougall, and payment made to him directly in advance. 

Tenants will need to obtain their landlord's/agent's consent if additional fobs are required.   Following concerns expressed by non-resident lessees about security of fobs sent to them in the mail, replacement/additional fobs will no longer be posted to non-resident lessees; they will need to make their own arrangements to collect their fobs from either Hull & Co or Mr Dougall.

Where can I find details of what services Hull & Co provide?  If I want them to investigate a problem in my flat, will I have to pay them, or is this covered by their annual payment from QMAL?

Hull & Co's services are provided under a contract with QMAL, based on the standard RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) contract.  We have prepared an overview of what services are covered by the contract, and what services are not, including services that have to be paid for by individual lessees.  You can find it here.


I have an ongoing dispute with a neighbour.  What should I do to get it resolved?

There are 158 flats and maisonettes at Queenswood Gardens.  That’s about the size of a small village.  And just like in a small village, there are times when, instead of all being sweetness and light between neighbours, some friction creeps in.

Causes of disagreement between residents are various.  They can be relatively minor, like leaving bags of rubbish or dirty shoes outside your front door, or quite significant, such as frequent noisy parties causing severe disturbance.

All too often, the resident who feels that they are on the receiving end of poor behaviour reports it to Hull & Co or the directors of Queenswood Management Association Ltd, expecting us to deal with the problem.  Sometimes we have been able nip the problem in the bud when there was clear evidence of a breach of the terms of the lease.  But on other occasions, we have found ourselves in the middle of an argument where we were being asked to take sides without having all the facts at our disposal.  This has rarely worked out to the satisfaction of the parties involved.  We have for some time felt that we need to find another way forward in settling these disputes.

Our view is that in the first instance, if you have an issue with a neighbour’s behaviour, you should take it up directly with them.  Nine times out of ten, this will resolve the problem without getting anyone else involved.  If it doesn’t, then you should consider reporting the matter to Redbridge Council on 020 8478 4679 for resolution by their anti-social behaviour team.

If all that fails, then you can come to us.  We can take action under the terms of the lease, subject to you indemnifying us for any costs involved.  To put things on a proper footing, you’ll need to complete our Complaint Report Form; if you are a tenant, then you will need to get your landlord to sign the form.


 
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