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Leaseholders share their fury at being charged 450k for a new intercom system

Tuesday, 23 November 2021  |  Admin

Reproduced from the Daily Mail online

Article here

Leaseholders share their fury at being charged £450k for a new intercom system

Leaseholders at a block of flats in East London have been told they will pay at least £450,000 for a new intercom system - and the cost doesn't even include any new cables.

Leaseholder Liam Spender, who owns one of the flats in the development, estimated his share of the works to be £1,138.50.  

Leaseholder Liam Spender, who owns one of the flats in the development, estimated his share of the works to be £1,138.50.  

Residents have questioned why if there is no rewiring being done, does the system need replacing? 

One of the benefits is that the new system will eventually 'save' leaseholders money longer term, as the current intercom system is rented.

The existing intercom system at the block of flats is rented from a company called Countryside Communications.

It installed the rental system at the time the developer St. George - now part of Berkeley Group - built the development in 2000.  

Mr Spender said: 'They are handing over more than £100,000 of our money to Countryside with no questions asked. Berkeley Group has a lot to answer for here as well.'

Countryside Communications' contract should have expired in July last year, but it has been allowed to roll over.

Countryside billed £282,935.11 in rental fees in 2019 and 2020, and between 2016 and 2020, it has billed more than £700,000 in rental fees for the existing system.

The 2020 rental price works out at roughly £325 per flat per year. 

The replacement system is believed to cost about £46 per flat per year, and so residents will eventually save money with the new system.

However, the equivalent of 18 months of those savings are required to pay off FirstPort's fee and Countryside's exit charge.

As part of the £450,000, a figure of £112,246 is being paid to Countryside Communications in exchange for the 20-odd year old cable. The new system will be installed on the back of the existing cable.

As part of its 10 per cent fee, FirstPort is collecting 10 per cent of the £112,246 payment to Countryside. In other words, it is going to charge residents the equivalent of £11,224.60 for effectively paying an invoice.

The estimated cost of the works is £454,044.36. This cost will be spread across 436 flats in the block. 

Both Berkeley Group and Countryside Communications were approached for comment, but did not respond.


I estimate that the cost of parts would not exceed £200,000 and that as the building is cabled already, installation would be no more than 20 minutes per apartment to replace the handsets = 136 hours, add in another generous 80 hours for the controls and commissioning and you reach 216, even at £50 per hour the total should not exceed £11,000 for installation

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