Cladding & Leaseholders

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SocketRocket

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I've followed some of the reports on the way leaseholders living in apartment blocks have been bankrupted due to the way Builders/Freeholders have stitched them up over the cost of cladding replacement following Grenfell.

I'll try not to make this too political but it seems to me that the law needs to give some protection to these leaseholders and make the builders and building owners responsible for rectifying the problem. Maybe the leaseholders should only be responsible for internal maintenance and the freeholders responsible for the building structure seeing they own it.
 

GB72

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I've followed some of the reports on the way leaseholders living in apartment blocks have been bankrupted due to the way Builders/Freeholders have stitched them up over the cost of cladding replacement following Grenfell.

I'll try not to make this too political but it seems to me that the law needs to give some protection to these leaseholders and make the builders and building owners responsible for rectifying the problem. Maybe the leaseholders should only be responsible for internal maintenance and the freeholders responsible for the building structure seeing they own it.
Not sure that is possible. The cladding was compliant at the time of installation and so you cannot then retrospectively change the law to attach liablity. Whether there should be support from other areas is a political matter not for discussion but teh there is a long history of what, at the time, were perfectly legal construction methods being later deemed a risk.

This also does not take into account the large number of properties where the freeholder is a company owned and run by the residents.

Furthermore, having a freeholder is a necessity to the existence of flats. Freehold flats do not work and are unmortgageable and the proposed commonhold replacement was never widely accepted by the general public.

It is an emotive issue which may need political intervention but it is a far less clear cut position than to retrospectively attach blame ot the peopel involved.
 

GreiginFife

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Is it much different to asbestos and who has to pay for that? My last house was riddled with the stuff (albeit Scotland and leasehold isn't really a thing) and it cost me thousands on abatement and removal costs.
 
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I've followed some of the reports on the way leaseholders living in apartment blocks have been bankrupted due to the way Builders/Freeholders have stitched them up over the cost of cladding replacement following Grenfell.

I'll try not to make this too political but it seems to me that the law needs to give some protection to these leaseholders and make the builders and building owners responsible for rectifying the problem. Maybe the leaseholders should only be responsible for internal maintenance and the freeholders responsible for the building structure seeing they own it.
Exactly this. Extortionate management fees should cover the costs of any remedial works.

Nobody should be made bankrupt due to being unabale to afford to meet the cladding costs. IMO there should be a law protecting them from such instances.
 

Foxholer

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I've followed some of the reports on the way leaseholders living in apartment blocks have been bankrupted due to the way Builders/Freeholders have stitched them up over the cost of cladding replacement following Grenfell.

I'll try not to make this too political but it seems to me that the law needs to give some protection to these leaseholders and make the builders and building owners responsible for rectifying the problem. Maybe the leaseholders should only be responsible for internal maintenance and the freeholders responsible for the building structure seeing they own it.
My view is that it's the responsibility of whichever body actually approved the use of materials/techniques in the first place! I certainly don't believe it's the responsibility of the leaseholders unless they knew about the problem(s) at the time!
Seems, to me, that the onus falls on (some part of) the Government! There might be a case for some sort of 'insurance' for this sort of thing going forward - as the sums involved are horrendous!
It's (unusually)
in cases like this where the US approach (who can/do I sue) seems to actually work!
 

Rlburnside

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Not sure that is possible. The cladding was compliant at the time of installation and so you cannot then retrospectively change the law to attach liablity. Whether there should be support from other areas is a political matter not for discussion but teh there is a long history of what, at the time, were perfectly legal construction methods being later deemed a risk.

This also does not take into account the large number of properties where the freeholder is a company owned and run by the residents.

Furthermore, having a freeholder is a necessity to the existence of flats. Freehold flats do not work and are unmortgageable and the proposed commonhold replacement was never widely accepted by the general public.

It is an emotive issue which may need political intervention but it is a far less clear cut position than to retrospectively attach blame ot the peopel involved.
I own a flat in Edingburgh and recently had to get a report done on the property thankfully there were no issues with the cladding but there were some issues that were not compliant with the building at the time, so it’s perfectly feasible that in some properties cladding was fitted wrongly at the time.

Terrible situation some people find themselves in through no fault of there own and should be given some help somehow.
 
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SocketRocket

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Not sure that is possible. The cladding was compliant at the time of installation and so you cannot then retrospectively change the law to attach liablity. Whether there should be support from other areas is a political matter not for discussion but teh there is a long history of what, at the time, were perfectly legal construction methods being later deemed a risk.

This also does not take into account the large number of properties where the freeholder is a company owned and run by the residents.

Furthermore, having a freeholder is a necessity to the existence of flats. Freehold flats do not work and are unmortgageable and the proposed commonhold replacement was never widely accepted by the general public.

It is an emotive issue which may need political intervention but it is a far less clear cut position than to retrospectively attach blame ot the peopel involved.
But was the cladding compliant at the time, if it was then some organisation is at fault for allowing combustible materials like this to be strapped to the outside of a high rise building.

Also, if the Freeholder owns the structure of the building it seems only correct to me that they should be responsible for its safety and even maintenance, they do charge ground rent to the leaseholders which should really come with responsibility, they have also taken the money for the sale of the flats. Where the freehold is shared by the leaseholders as is sometimes the case then it's fair for them to have responsibility for the building maintenance.

Something's wrong about this and needs changing IMO.
 

BiMGuy

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But was the cladding compliant at the time, if it was then some organisation is at fault for allowing combustible materials like this to be strapped to the outside of a high rise building.
Asbestos was once a wonder material! Things change.

With cladding on high rise buildings, the materials used are only part of the problem.

There isn’t an easy solution, but I don’t think this should fall on the Taxpayer to sort out.
 
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SocketRocket

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Asbestos was once a wonder material! Things change.

With cladding on high rise buildings, the materials used are only part of the problem.

There isn’t an easy solution, but I don’t think this should fall on the Taxpayer to sort out.
Asbestos in buildings doesn't burn and doesn't endanger life untill it is disturbed. I just fail to see how a material can be fitted to the outside of a high rise building and in many cases retrofitted for cosmetic purposes without it being tested for fire safety.

Who do you think the cost should fall on to sort it out.
 

GB72

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But was the cladding compliant at the time, if it was then some organisation is at fault for allowing combustible materials like this to be strapped to the outside of a high rise building.

Also, if the Freeholder owns the structure of the building it seems only correct to me that they should be responsible for its safety and even maintenance, they do charge ground rent to the leaseholders which should really come with responsibility, they have also taken the money for the sale of the flats. Where the freehold is shared by the leaseholders as is sometimes the case then it's fair for them to have responsibility for the building maintenance.

Something's wrong about this and needs changing IMO.
Actually most ground rents now have reverted to a peppercorn and any lease extension under the current statury lease extension provisions provide for a peppercorn rent. In many cases, the ground rent is only a tool to allow the lease to fall within the legal definition of a lease, a term of years at a rent.

I would suggest that in a majority of cases when there is more than 2 or 3 properties in a building, the landlord or a management company repairs and the tenants cover the cost.

Only passing on my knowledge from 20 plus years practicing as a property solicitor.

And, yes, whilst I cannot comment on any specific cases, I believe that the cladding in question was building regulations compliant. This is where you need to be looking, the technicalities of when, why and how the product was signed off as acceptable for building regulations. That is outside of my ambit and moves into the area of surveyors and engineers.
 
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SocketRocket

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Actually most ground rents now have reverted to a peppercorn and any lease extension under the current statury lease extension provisions provide for a peppercorn rent. In many cases, the ground rent is only a tool to allow the lease to fall within the legal definition of a lease, a term of years at a rent.

I would suggest that in a majority of cases when there is more than 2 or 3 properties in a building, the landlord or a management company repairs and the tenants cover the cost.

Only passing on my knowledge from 20 plus years practicing as a property solicitor.

And, yes, whilst I cannot comment on any specific cases, I believe that the cladding in question was building regulations compliant. This is where you need to be looking, the technicalities of when, why and how the product was signed off as acceptable for building regulations. That is outside of my ambit and moves into the area of surveyors and engineers.
I'm not questioning your experience in the legal side of this, I'm pointing out my view that the way it currently works is unfair and wrong to the leaseholders, what ever the current law is, I'm also suggesting the law needs changing but thats only my personal viewpoint. To me the Freeholder owns the property and should be responsible for the maintenance of the structure, I believe at the end of the lease term the building including the flats become the freeholders property, it's rather like a landlord renting a property who is responsible for the property maintenance, Leaseholders are not much different to tenants, they just pay a hundred or so years rent in one go.
 

GB72

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I'm not questioning your experience in the legal side of this, I'm pointing out my view that the way it currently works is unfair and wrong to the leaseholders, what ever the current law is, I'm also suggesting the law needs changing but thats only my personal viewpoint. To me the Freeholder owns the property and should be responsible for the maintenance of the structure, I believe at the end of the lease term the building including the flats become the freeholders property, it's rather like a landlord renting a property who is responsible for the property maintenance, Leaseholders are not much different to tenants, they just pay a hundred or so years rent in one go.
The difference tends to be that leases are normally 99 or 125 year leases, many are for 999 years and so the position greatly differs. The landlord will, in all likelihood, never get to grant a new lease and every lessee is entitled to a statury lease extension that costs a few thousand pounds and probably needs doing once every 30-40 years.

The comparison with an assured shorthold tenant is unfair based on the rent payable. The rent on a long lease such as we are discussing here will never exceed £250 per annum (complicated interpretations that means above couuld allow enforcement in the same was as an AST) and is normally a few pounds. Rights of eviction and enforcement also differ massively between the 2. Compare to a tenancy rent when you are looking at hundreds of pounds per month.

unfortunately, history is littered with things like this, high allumina cement, prefab construction, japanese knotweed, all things that can extinguish the value of a property.

I agree that there is a political discussion to have here but not necessarily one that attributes cost and blame to freeholders.
 

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Asbestos in buildings doesn't burn and doesn't endanger life untill it is disturbed. I just fail to see how a material can be fitted to the outside of a high rise building and in many cases retrofitted for cosmetic purposes without it being tested for fire safety.

Who do you think the cost should fall on to sort it out.
the cladding was compliant with the building regulations at the time.
 

Dando

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My view is that it's the responsibility of whichever body actually approved the use of materials/techniques in the first place! I certainly don't believe it's the responsibility of the leaseholders unless they knew about the problem(s) at the time!
Seems, to me, that the onus falls on (some part of) the Government! There might be a case for some sort of 'insurance' for this sort of thing going forward - as the sums involved are horrendous!
It's (unusually)
in cases like this where the US approach (who can/do I sue) seems to actually work!
there is a call for the Government to set up an insurance fund to cover this
 
Thread starter #17

SocketRocket

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the cladding was compliant with the building regulations at the time.
As I said, I can't understand how a material that is combustible can be fitted to the outside of a high rise building. If it was compliant then there needs to be some investigation into how this can happen, just set light to it and see it burn, absolutely mind boggling.
 

saving_par

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As I said, I can't understand how a material that is combustible can be fitted to the outside of a high rise building. If it was compliant then there needs to be some investigation into how this can happen, just set light to it and see it burn, absolutely mind boggling.
Wasn't there something dodgy about the testing results submitted by the manufacturers?

Sure I've read about in the past.
 
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Exactly this. Extortionate management fees should cover the costs of any remedial works.

Nobody should be made bankrupt due to being unabale to afford to meet the cladding costs. IMO there should be a law protecting them from such instances.
I think there should be grands available. However, they should be repayable from any rental income or profit of property sales.

Whats the sum for the country? How does it compare to furlough? Is it significant, or a drop in the ocean?


I feel rather lucky having sold about a year before. I heard of former neighbours not getting buyers because of certificates needed they would easily get, but the few people that can do them are busy and can’t get around.
 
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