Well, yes, isn’t this how it works?

“Terrified” residents of a housing complex clad in similar flammable panels to Grenfell tower are facing a bill of £2m to make their homes safe after the building’s owner said it was not its responsibility to pay.

The freehold is owned by a company owned by the family trust of the multi-millionaire property mogul Vincent Tchenguiz, and its property agent has told residents that work recladding the Citiscape complex in Croydon will begin “once full funds are in place”.

The government told the agent to remove the cladding five months ago and Sajid Javid, the housing, communities and local government secretary, last month suggested the landlord was responsible for ensuring residents’ safety.

But freeholder Proxima GR Properties has insisted that it is not obliged to cover the costs of the work, warning leaseholders in the 93 apartments that the bill will increase if they delay payment.

Well, yes? And?

Isn’t that they way freeholds and leases work?

20 comments on “Well, yes, isn’t this how it works?

  1. If the freeholder fitted cladding that was not fit for purpose, should not the leaseholders have a claim for negligence that was a tort?

  2. Who is putting up all the dangerous crap? Are there not supposed to be all manner of govt goons to ensure this sort of caper doesn’t happen?

  3. Ecksie – it’s probably the previous lot of goons who said it was mandatory and the current lot of goons who say it’s dangerous. A bit like cars with diesel engines: incentivise today, punish tomorrow.

  4. Would pay a resident (who had adequate insurance) to, ahem, install a suitably faulty fridge in his flat, no?

  5. From gov.uk: “Ownership of the property returns to the landlord when the lease comes to an end.” So “after the building’s owner …” is cobblers. Based on that evidence I’ll guess that the article is from the Grauniad.

  6. I always thought that a landlord has no right to demand payment from tenants to improve his property – only to maintain it.

  7. “to improve his property”: it’s not his fucking property.

    ‘From gov.uk: “Ownership of the property returns to the landlord when the lease comes to an end.”’

  8. According to EUReferendum, EU law means (or at least meant) you can’t force someone to upgrade the cladding.

  9. Except if lease is for 999 years – as is completely possible – the “owner” is a slightly more fluid concept.

  10. In long residential leases (i.e. longer than 21 years) let by a private landlord it is normally the case that each tenant will have purchased the lease by paying the capital value and so only pay a small ground rent to the landlord. The landlord is liable to repair the property but is entitled, under the terms of the lease, to levy a service charge to recoup the cost from the tenants. This is normally done by through a management company. The tenants are thus in broadly the same position as any owner of a house. You have to pay to repair it. In short residential leases of 7 years or less the landlord has the duty to repair and pay the costs but of course he will be charging a full market rent to cover his costs. Tenants in this position may be entitled to housing benefit.

  11. I can’t help wondering why the property owner isn’t asking the original cladding supplier/installer to rectify this at their expense.

  12. @ Simon

    because, as I wrote earlier, the cladding in question was probably the approved cladding at the time of installation.

  13. “I can’t help wondering why the property owner “: for the third fucking time, he isn’t the fucking property owner. gov.uk is unambiguous – “You only own a leasehold property for a fixed period of time. You’ll have a legal agreement with the landlord (sometimes known as the ‘freeholder’) called a ‘lease’. This tells you how many years you’ll own the property. Ownership of the property returns to the landlord when the lease comes to an end.”

    Which explains why the leaseholders can buy and sell the flats, dunnit?

  14. @ dearieme
    Sorry, but that website is flat wrong if it refers to “ownership” being changed by a leasehold encumbrance. The property ownership remains with the freeholder. The property possession is granted to the leaseholder, subject to whatever (if any) rights of inspection the freeholder may retain, which will be specified in the lease. The leaseholder does not buy or sell “the flat” in question – they buy and sell the leasehold interest, which is a vanishing asset, but that’s not the point. The obligation (or not) to maintain or repair will be set out in the lease (refer to Smithy’s post, above).
    This has a pretty good explanation.

  15. So who paid to have the insulation cladding fitted in the first place? The grauniad article is silent on this. Not the terified leaseholder residents, shirly?

  16. @ gareth
    It is normal for the Freeholder to choose and pay for the cladding and then recoup most of its cost from the leaseholders.

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