Case Histories

Lease Omissions: An exceptional review of all leases in the Square by The Wellcome Trust showed that 12 leaseholders did not have garden access included in their leases – notwithstanding the fact that they and previous leaseholders at each of these addresses had enjoyed usage as long as anyone could remember - and had paid the garden service charge. Wellcome charges a substantial premium based on lease market value to include garden usage and so proposed to rectify the position by seeking the premium from each leaseholder.

OSRA represented the leaseholders in this matter and after seeking Counsel’s opinion presented a solution to Wellcome that resulted in an agreement acceptable to all parties. This allowed all the affected leases to be amended in return for a ‘modified’ premium in each case.

Service Charges: OSRA campaigned for more say in the setting of service charge budgets which had previously been set by the managing agent without any reference to leaseholders. It is now standard practice each year to offer each service block a meeting to discuss the proposed budget as well as the likely timing and funding of major works.

Lease Renewals and Extensions: OSRA has advised groups of leaseholders on lease extensions and also negotiated discounts with property and legal advisors to reach smooth conclusions to lease extensions – adding considerable value to individual leases.

East and West Gardens: OSRA has a dedicated gardens committee to oversee activities and costs. Individual programmes by this committee have been successful in controlling annual costs, shaping planting programmes and reviewing and updating the rules for using the gardens.

OSRA also proposed the successful security review that led to the elimination of over 50 unauthorised access cards and replaced them with the current fob system.

HTB Onslow Square (formerly St Paulís): The Church is very popular and is the spiritual home of the global Alpha programme. OSRA wants the Church to be successful but is mindful of the impact activities can have in a residential square. OSRA and HTB work in close collaboration on the use of the church and its community impact. Agreed protocols include sound levels from the Church especially during the Sunday programme of services – which are set at limits agreed between sound experts and RBKC.

Lycee Pupils in the Square: OSRA members have raised many issues about Lycee pupils climbing into the gardens, using doorsteps for lunch and behaving inappropriately. OSRA and the Lycee have discussed this constructively and this led to the Lycee informing pupils and their parents that Onslow Square is off limits for casual use. The Lycee deals very firmly with pupils failing to respect the aesthetic and amenity value of Onslow Square.

Boiler Replacement: The managing agent proposed to enforce leaseholders in a service block to install (at their own cost) separate heating and hot water systems in each flat. OSRA intervened and presented evidence and arguments to maintain a communal boiler. This led to the proposal being withdrawn and a fully agreed communal boiler being installed.

Cost of Major Programmes of Work: OSRA has represented service blocks when tenders for work appear high. This has led to re negotiating of tender prices and/or re-tendering.

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Protecting residents' interests in Onslow Square, South Kensington

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