Islington Leaseholder’s £3,500 mystery bill cancelled after two-year battle

Brian Potter

Brian Potter - Credit: Archant

A man who spent more than two years fighting a mystery £3,500 bill from Islington Council is celebrating after the debt was cancelled.

Paul Buckley owns a flat on the Halton Mansions ­Estate, off Halton Road, ­Islington, and was handed the bill in 2011 as his share of £1.5million worth of refurbishment done in 2004.

But he disputed the charges because he says only minimal work was done on his block, and after arguing with ­Islington Council for 30 months he was finally told last week they would chalk the whole lot off.

He said: “It was a total mystery bill. All I remember them doing to my block was painting the window frames. £50,000 of the bill was for ­architects fees – you don’t need an architect to tell you how to paint.

“It feels good that justice has been done at long last, ­although it took two and half years and I probably spent that money in time and effort – but at least it’s not going to them. The whole thing has been shambolic. How can you send a bill for work done seven years ago with no proof of what was done?

“The council have gotten away with it for far too long.

“Leaseholders are not just cash cows here to be fleeced and we need to stop this bad practice.

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“Other people will have just paid this bill – hopefully after seeing my story, people wont just accept these bills.”

Brian Potter, chairman of Islington Leaseholders Association (ILA), helped the 49-year-old to fight the charges. Dr Potter said: “This just goes to show that if you challenge these bills in the right way, you can win. Often people don’t know what to do and they are stuck.

“Anyone else in a similar situation can come to the next ILA meeting on December 11 at 7pm at Islington town hall, in the main council chamber.”

A council spokesman said: “We carry out work on all of our estates as part of our commitment to investing in homes for the benefit of tenants and leaseholders.

“This case is specific only to Mr Buckley, and we have taken the decision not to continue to pursue the matter.”