Lambeth council spent £1.8m to stop leaseholders sharing information

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

A council spent more than £1.8million in less than five years on confidentiality agreements designed to stop leaseholders sharing certain information with each other.

Between January 2019 and September 2023, Lambeth council drew up 119 agreements containing secrecy clauses with leaseholders.

Maria Kay, the Labour-run council’s cabinet member for housing, revealed the figures in response to a written question by Donna Harris, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat opposition, ahead of a council meeting on Wednesday.

In August, it was revealed that leaseholders who won thousands of pounds back from the council for building work they were overcharged for on their properties were told to sign agreements that stopped them telling their neighbours about the discounts they received.

The four figure reductions were for major works carried out to their properties in the borough between 2017 and 2018.

Cllr Harris, Liberal Democrat member for Streatham Hill West and Thornton, asked Cllr Kay for details of the number of non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses executed between Lambeth council and leaseholders between 2019 and 2023.

She also asked for details of the total payments made to residents under the agreements and the legal costs the council faced because of the agreements.

In response, Cllr Kay said the council didn’t hold information about the legal costs it had sustained due to the agreements but replied to the other two parts of Cllr Harris’s question.

She said the total amount paid to leaseholders as part of the 119 confidentiality agreements over the four year and nine month period was £1,811,500.

A council leaseholder, who asked not to be named, said they thought the £1.8 million figure was the “tip of the iceberg”.

They said: “If all the similarly overcharged neighbours of those who received these rebates had been offered the same rebate, how much would Lambeth have had to pay out?”

(Picture: PA)

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