Frequently asked questions on the refurbishment of the Lancaster West estate


  • Q&A 
  • Resident engagement, Respite and Welfare
  • Leaseholder discounts for works confirmed after funding boost
  • Leaseholder Repayment Option
  • Help to pay for leaseholders
  • Leaseholders frequently asked question
  • Improving leaseholder services: an overview
  • Sustainability and Internal refurb 
    - Making Lancaster West sustainable by 2030
    - Refurb and delivery 
    - Cost
    - Measuring success  


 1. How is the outbreak of Covid-19 affecting the refurbishment?  

We have secured agreement that given the health and safety implications, the Lancaster West refurbishment is essential work, and we will continue to progress subject to any changes in public health guidance in the months ahead. Where work continues, we will undertake the work ensuring that appropriate PPE and physical distancing is in place.

2. When will my property be refurbished? 

Our internal refurbishment programme is due to launch later in 2020, aiming to scale up in Spring 2021. Major block works such as windows, heating and hot water and door entry systems are also due to commence in 2021.

3. I see properties on the estate being refurbished already. Can mine be done now? 

Our new in-house refurbishment team has been working on properties as they become empty. Some of these refurbished flats have been used to host Open House events. These homes are then let under the Local Lettings Plan, which in a points-based system giving priority to residents on the estate at the time of the tragedy. In addition, our in-house refurbishment team have replaced kitchens in 14% of homes and bathrooms in 15% of homes.  
We are looking to commence a programme of in-situ refurbishment later this year, subject to the impact of the pandemic.

4. Will I get a say on the individual features that are included in the refurbishment of my home?  

Yes, although residents have already given priorities for their block, we will be consulting with residents of each home individually nearer the time to finalise the choice of styles, fixtures and fittings and appliances.  [Your Home. Your Choice. Brochure photo] 

5. Will the blocks be refurbished one at a time? 
It is highly unlikely that all properties in one block will be carried out at the same time. Once the detailed design phase is complete, we will be able to start prioritising the order of works to keep disruption and cost to a minimum, and agree the timing of internal works with you at a household level. 

6. Will I need to live at my property while the works take place?  

We are developing a Decant Scheme which will allow residents who would rather move to an already refurbished property to be able to do so, relinquishing their current home. A pool of temporary accommodation will also be held for those households who need it. Any costs for temporary accommodation will need to be met from within the refurbishment fund.
7. How do I keep up to date with the refurbishment programme? 

We post regular updates on our Instagram feed @Lancasterwestneighbourhoodteam or email us 

Resident engagement, Respite and Welfare

1. When will the refurbishment start?

The refurbishment has already started! We are delivering a “rolling refurbishment” of internal works to properties as part of the Local Lettings Plan, as well as pilots for windows and heating and hot water, so that as many residents as possible benefit from refurbishment as soon as possible. 
By the end of 2019, around 10% of all homes will have received a new kitchen and/or bathroom since the Grenfell tragedy. 
This will be achieved by: 
1. Our in-house repair team replacing kitchens and bathrooms that are beyond repair 
2. By continuing to refurbish our empty properties through our new homes programme as part of the Local Lettings Plan. 

In terms of the wider refurbishment programme, major works such as windows and heating and hot water are expected to start early 2021.  

 2. What has the process of the idea phase been?

The government committed to making Lancaster West a ‘21st Century Model Estate’ but the question of how it would be funded remained. With a collaborative effort between the Lancaster West Resident’s Association and the Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team, by the end of July 2019, a total £57.9m has been secured.  
Now that we know how much money we are working with, we can move to the detailed design phase ensuring the highest level of quality, value for money and longevity, leave a lasting legacy for thousands of residents for years to come.  
3. Can we expect a speedier process going forward?

Refurbishments are never a quick process so speedy is not something we can promise! That said, now that the ball is rolling, we can offer greater clarity on what to expect, and when. As a basic guide, we are nearing the end of the ideas phase and expecting to start the detailed design phase early next year, with residents set to experience major works (including windows etc.) from early in 2021.  
In addition, in May 2019, block reps told us they wanted to maximise choice and engagement throughout the refurbishment process. The level of resident participation means each stage of the refurbishment must first have resident input before we can move onto the next stage.  
On the one hand this increases the duration of each phase, but on the other it ensures that residents’ needs, concerns and preferences are primary factors in the decision-making process, supplemented by health and safety and legal requirements.
4. What is the next step? 

As we move into the detailed design phase, we need specialist experts who will ensure the refurbishment is delivered to the highest standard possible. The people and organisations that will be appointed all need to meet certain criteria, so we are currently entering the procurement process.  
This is a process governed by law and regulation and given the value of the works, means an OJEU process needs to be followed.  
The Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team is as an organisation that is determined to co-design it’s services with the people it caters to. As a result, we are also currently exploring ways in which we can involve residents in this process. This is an opportunity for residents to oversee and have input into who is going to be delivering the refurbishment of their estate as well as a fantastic educational opportunity that could spark the beginning of a new career path for those who participate. 
5.   What will you do to help us live with the disruption?

The scale of noise and disruption to a community in recovery cannot be underestimated. However, we will offer a range of measures including:
Strict restrictions on audible works (as measured from boundary of the property being worked on) to only take place between:

·       8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday

·       At no time on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays

·       Restricted hours for high impact activities (i.e. concrete-breaking works)

·       9am to noon and 2pm to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday

·       At no time on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays

We will look to provide welfare facilities for use by residents during the hours of work (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday)
We will retain a small number of empty flats for temporary use, for those with acute vulnerabilities that will be impacted by the work and cannot stay in their home. The opportunity to home-switch, where a tenancy is transferred to an already refurbished home, relinquishing your existing property so that it can be refurbished for another family on the estate, will be explored also.

Leaseholder discounts for works confirmed after funding boost

The previous offer of discounts for resident leaseholders will apply to the full amount of £57.9m.
For resident leaseholders (including shared owners) the contribution of the Council will have a 20 per cent reduction applied when rechargeable works are billed for. 

The contribution from central government (£24.9m) will not be recharged to resident leaseholders. This equates to a 54.4 per cent discount for resident leaseholders who wereresident at the time of the tragedy, and also at the time of being required to pay the charge. In addition, the maximum potential charge for resident leaseholders will be £15,000 over any five-year period whilst the government grant is utilised, and an extensive range of repayment methods will be put in place to ensure no one is financially stretched as a result of the refurbishment.
Following a request from the Lancaster West Residents Association (LWRA), which has since been agreed at Leadership of the Council, non-resident leaseholders (e.g. Notting Hill Genesis and buy-to-let landlords) will be fully charged for the cost of works, including the government grant.

There is no limit on the level of recharge for these properties, however repayment options will be available. The table opposite summarises the full repayment options that will be available to leaseholders.

Leaseholder Repayment Option

Help to pay for leaseholders

1. If you are a resident leaseholder at the time of the tragedy, there are different options that may be available to you to help pay the remaining cost of the refurbishment.

You may be eligible to receive either a mandatory loan or a discretionary loan from the Council at differing rates of interest. Both loans can only be taken out for an amount of £500 or more and can be spread over a three to ten-year period.

2. Council loans
Mandatory loan: Your lease is 10 years old and you have been charged more than £2,250 for any major repair work. The loan has interest added to it at the local authority mortgage rate.
Discretionary loan: You have been charged for major repair work. You have to pay interest on the loan and the length of the loan depends on the value of the invoice. The loans are like a mortgage and a charge will be placed on your property. The land registry will be informed and in the event of you selling the property, the debt will be paid from the proceeds of the sale. There is also an option to secure a charge on your property.

3. Voluntary charge
If you are a resident leaseholder who is retired or disabled, we can secure a charge against your property, although we would expect you to pay the legal costs and interest associated with this. We would recover the debt when your property is sold or transferred. Please note we would always encourage you to seek independent legal advice before placing a charge on your property.

Further options are available, including applying for a bank or building society loan, equity schemes and extending your mortgage at
a better interest rate. Please note we would always encourage you to seek independent financial advice before signing any financial agreement.
For more information, please contact

Leaseholders frequently asked question

1.What could the Council actually charge leaseholders for?
RBKC leases are in the main repair-only leases. For example, a repair would include the replacement of a faulty lighting system where one is already present. This includes all parts of the building and estate which are known as ‘common parts’. Improvements, i.e. installing a new feature to a block, such as a lift are not rechargeable.
2.Which parts of the buildings are ‘common parts’?
These are the parts that are not granted to residents in the lease but residents have right of access to and comprise the fabric of a building. These include but are not limited to, walkways, staircases and stairwells, door entrances, communal doors and windows, communal pipework and lightings.

3.How will leaseholders be consulted on how proposed future works are specified?
Future investment in the Lancaster West Estate will trigger a Section
20 Consultation for leaseholders. This is a two-stage consultation process. At each stage leaseholders have the opportunity to make ‘observations’ to which the Council must give due regard.
4.How does the Section 20 Consultation work?
A Section 20 Consultation is triggered when any lessee’s individual recharge for works to a block is in excess of £250.
First, a Notice of Intention is issued to leaseholders which sets out the nature of the proposed work. This is then followed by a Notice of Proposal which sets out the total cost of the works, the recommended contractor and your individual recharge.

5.When will we know what will and won’t be potentially recharged?
It will not be until any future works are specified that we will be able to properly ascertain what is to be recharged but we will ensure that you are only recharged for works that are permitted under the terms and conditions of your lease.

6.How will the Council calculate overall refurbishment costs and how will this be broken down as charges for leaseholders? 
Any major works that are rechargeable would be calculated in the same way as your day-to-day service charges. This is apportioned using the Council’s weighted room formula:
●Flat weighted rooms divided by block weighted rooms e.g. 4/50ths of the cost of works.
●Professional and management fees would also form part of the calculation.
●Any works that are not rechargeable under the lease would be excluded from the calculations.
7.Who can I contact for independent advice?
There are a number of free and independent advice services available to lessees, such as The Leasehold Advisory Service:

Sustainability and Internal Refurb - Making Lancaster West sustainable by 2030

1. What do we mean by sustainability?

The most common definition for sustainability is from a 1987 United Nations report and describes it as ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. 
Sustainability has three pillars: 
- Environmental – living within the means of natural resources and aspiring to net-zero carbon 
- Economic – using resources efficiently and responsibly 
- Social – achieving good social wellbeing 

All of these are very closely linked and its necessary to try and promote all three in harmony, but generally we are talking about environmental sustainability. 
Environmental sustainability covers a range of different areas, including:

-Reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change 
-Improving air quality
-Improving green spaces and biodiversity 
-Tackling fuel poverty and lowering fuel bills
-Recycling and minimising waste 
-Using sustainable materials and not exploiting resources

We’re tackling these key issues through our sustainability programme to help transform Lancaster West into a model 21st century estate. 

2. Why does the estate need to become more sustainable?

Climate change is an undeniable problem which threatens all our futures, and this is being caused by thr fact that across the worl we're overusing fossil fuels to generate energy. The most important thing we can do to limit climate change is to change the way that we use resources and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK Government has passed a law committing the whole of the UK to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. To achieve this, everyone will need to do their bit by reducing their energy demand and switching to renewable sources of energy. Housing makes up 18% of total UK emissions, so it will be necessary to make homes across the UK more suitable to reach this goal, and more laws are likely to be brought in to make this happen. 
Sustainability also brings a whole range of other benefits. By making the estate more sustainable, we can make it a healthier, greener, more comfortable, and more affordable place to live. 

3. What are our sustainability goals?

Our main goal is for Lancaster West to become a model net-zero carbon estate by 2030. Carbon is emitted when we use energy for things like electricity and heating, so we need to work to reduce the amount of energy we use on the estate and get the energy we do use from low-carbon renewable sources. 
The key priorities we are focusing on to achieve this are:
- Making homes more energy efficient, warm and comfortable.
- Switching the heating and energy we use to a clean and green supply.
- Creating a green estate with a thriving environment.
- Engaging residents on the co-design of their estate.

4. Are you being ambitious enough about reducing carbon emissions?

Our ambition is for Lancaster West to be a net-zero carbon estate by 2030. This is in line with the broader Council goal for all its operation (including housing) to be net-zero by 2030, and ahead of the UK Government goal for the UK to become net-zero by 2050. This is an ambitious but achievable target that we will be able to reach by working closely with residents, experts, and other government organisations. 

Sustainability and Internal refurb - Refurbishment and Delivery

1. What works will be done on the estate to meet these sustainability goals?

The most effective way of reducing carbon emissions from housing is to make the homes more energy efficient , so we'll be doing a lot of work in individual properties across the estate to do this, as a part of both the internal refurbishment and major refurbishment of the estate. 
Where appropriate, as a part of the internal refurbishment project, we are installing wall, floor, and roof insulation to properties. Insulation effectively works like a thermal blanket for properties and keeps them warm, reducing their heating demand and making them more comfortable. 
When replacing appliances in kitchens and bathrooms we are installing energy efficient options, such as induction cookers, Methven Aurajet shower heads, which save 25% of water used in each shower, and dual flushing toilets. We are also replacing lighting energy efficient LED bulbs.
Alongside this, further improvements will be made to homes through the major refurbishment of the estate. While the details of this will be decided by residents, this will include the replacement of windows and changes to building fabric to make it more thermally and energy efficient. We are also upgrading the current heating systems and connecting the estate to a new energy efficient, low-carbon district heating network. 

2. What is already being done to make the estate more sustainable?

We're already taking action to make the estate more sustainable. We're currently trailing different methods and products in void properties, and a few tenanted properties, which may be rolled out across the estate. 
The tea garden has been created, which provides a new pleasant green space on the estate. The herbs grown in the garden n can also be used by residents, which is more sustainable than buying them from the supermarket. We are continuing to explore options to further increase biodiversity and green spaces. 

Recycling bins in homes and across the estate help to divert waste from landfill and contribute to sustainability goals. We have also provided hot box composting bins to make compost for the community gardens and are on track to save 1,456 litres of food waste from entering landfill. 

The LWNT are also reducing emissions from our own operations. 30% of repairs operatives and 20% of LWNT staff are local residents and walk to work, saving 5 tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere per year . Repair operatives are also using cargo bikes to make repairs and we have replaced the team's van with 2 zero-emissions electric vans.

3. How will this affect individual properties?

The need to make the estate more sustainable is one of the key drivers behind the internal refurbishment programme and will provide some direction to the work that we do. We will consult with residents at every point of the process to make sure you're happy with any sustainable changes to properties, but could include better insulation, doors, new energy efficient appliances in kitchens and bathrooms and new heating controls. 
Making these changes will reduce the energy demand of homes, and consequently reduce their carbon emissions as well as this, they should make homes more comfortable by keeping them warm in winter and stopping overheating in summer; reducing draughts, condensation, and mould. 

4. Will these changed address problems of overheating? 

It's important that all changes we make to properties both help us to reduce the estate's carbon footprint, and help make homes more comfortable. This includes addressing issues of homes being cold in winter, overheating  in summer, as well as any issues with damp, mould, and condensation. Improving insulation helps to regulate the temperature of properties at a comfortable level while improving ventilation ensures constant supply of fresh air and will address problems of overheating. 

5. Is anything being done to recycle waste from the refurbishment (such as windows and kitchen unites)? 

We're working closely with suppliers and contractors to ensure that high sustainability standards are upheld throughout delivery of the refurbishment. Our suppliers have made commitments around recycling and reusing materials and appliances and diverting waste from landfill wherever possible. 
Where possible, appliances removed from properties will be collected and processed via our contractor's recycling plant. Vinyl floor removed from properties is also being recycled and we are purchasing this recycled flooring for the refurb where possible.

We have also made agreements with suppliers to ensure that materials used in the refurbishment are sustainably sourced wherever possible, and that sustainable methods are used for installation and transportation of new materials and appliances and waste. 

Sustainability and Internal refurb - Cost

1. Where will the money come from for this?

Due to the need to make housing more sustainable to meet the UK Government’s net-zero target, there are various funds available from UK Government and the Greater London Authority in support of sustainable initiatives. We’re exploring opportunities for grant funding and other ways of financing our sustainable changes and continuously exploring opportunities for new sources of funding. Making use of these opportunities means that we can free up additional funding to make further improvements to homes as part of the internal refurb.

2.  Will this increase costs for residents? 

We are looking to fund sustainable changes primarily through grant funding and other finance opportunities from UK Government and the Greater London Authority to ensure that the cost of making the estate sustainable is minimised and will not need to be passed on to residents. We are also doing feasibility studies for all major changes to ensure that they're viable and will bring both environmental benefits and long-term financial benefits to residents. 

3. Will there be any cost benefit to residents? 

Making homes more energy efficient means that less energy is needed to heat and power them. All of the options we are exploring will help reduce the demand for homes and therefore will reduce costs for residents. For example, putting insulation around home is effectively like putting a jacket around a home and keeps it warmer, meaning that there is less of a need to use central heating to keep it warm. A-rated appliances are highly energy efficient and similarly can save energy requirements and costs. As a result, some of the changes being made in the internal refurb will lower the energy requirements for homes and reduce the cost of energy bills in the long term. 

Sustainability and Internal refurb - Measuring success

1. What does success look like? 

Ultimately, we want Lancaster West to be a net-zero carbon estate by 2030 and this is our main success criteria. So, we’ll have succeeded if in 10 years, we have refurbished the estate to high energy efficiency standards in a way that residents are happy with, have developed an efficient low-carbon heat network and provide most of the energy on the estate via renewable sources. 

In the shorter term, success can be seen by progress against our key objectives:

- Making homes more energy efficient, warm and comfortable. 
- Switching the heating and energy we use to a clean and green supply. 
- Creating a green estate with a thriving environment. 
- Engaging residents on the co-design of their estate. 

2. How are we calculating the carbon emissions of the estate exactly, so we can show beyond doubt that we are on track to become a net-zero carbon estate? Can we share this tracker with residents, and be transparent about the way it is calculated?

We're currently developing an approach to how we calculate the emissions of the estate so that we can accurately measure progress against our net-zero carbon goal. This will include looking in detail at the materials and equipment on the estate, and energy usage from boilers and in individual properties. 
Once we have decided an appropriate method of calculating emissions, we will share this and our tracker with any interested residents.

3. What are smart meters and how will they benefit us? 

Small meters are modern gas and electricity meters that have a range of intelligent functions. They come with and in-home display, so its possible to see how much energy you are using and how much it costs, which can help to avoid wasting energy and money. They can also communicate directly with energy suppliers, meaning that bills will be accurate, with no need for suppliers to visit homes to read meters - though residents get a say over how their information is shared. 

We're currently trialling both Nest and Switches smart meters on the estate. These smart meters can also learn from residnets' heating preferences and adjust temperature accordingly, which is estimated to save between 8.4% and 16.5% energy used for heating, which could help reduce both emissions and costs. 

More information can be found on the government website: