The property tribunal last week dumped the cost of removing Grenfell cladding on the residents at Cypress Place and Vallea Court in Manchester’s Green Quarter, which were built by Australian builder Lendlease.
And Vallea Court pays for the “waking watch” fire marshals.
In addition, the tribunal declined to issue a section 20c order, which means that ground rent speculator Pemberstone will be able to dump its legal costs on the leaseholders as well.
The total is thought to be around £3 million, or £10,000 for each flat.
All of which is the complete opposite of the government’s repeated calls for developers and freeholders to “do the decent thing” and to pay up for the cladding defects to be put right.
This has been echoed by Sajid Javid, when Communities Secretary, his successor James Brokenshire and the new housing minister Kit Malthouse.
The general ministerial view seems to be that housebuilders and freeholders coin so much money out of the leasehold system that they might as well pay up to put right the Grenfell cladding.
But it is not the job of the tribunal to guess what is the “decent thing”, but to apply the law which means interpreting the leases.
Inevitably, the leases were created and designed to make them as attractive as possible to “landlords” – that is, the entity that bought the site’s income streams such as ground rents, hidden insurance, energy and other commissions, management contracts etc.
So far, leaseholders have yet to persuade the tribunal that they should not pay to remove combustible Grenfell cladding from the sites where they were unlucky enough to purchase leasehold flats.
Indeed, the tribunal told leaseholders at Citiscape, in Croydon, and at the Fresh Building in Salford that they would be liable.
Curiously, another case is heading for the tribunal where Slough Council is seeking a ruling on liability at Nova House: it claims this is for the fire marshal cost only.
In an unexplained arrangement, Slough bought the freehold off ground rent speculator Robert Steinhouse last year for £1 – officially a “nominal sum”.
Susan Bright, professor of land law at Oxford University, analysed the legal options for leaseholders living in sites with Grenfell cladding at last month’s LKP-organised parliamentary meeting. It was attended by Kit Malthouse and his Labour opposite Sarah Jones.
APPG hears agony of Grenfell cladding on private sites, while Lendlease sites head to tribunal to get leaseholders to pay
Essentially, leaseholders would have to pool resources and stay united for a prolonged period while engaged in expensive litigation with no certainty of result.
She analyses the tribunal decision over Vallea Court and Cypress Place here:
The Green Quarter decision: leaseholders have to pay
The Manchester Green Quarter decision released on Thursday 26 July 2018, like the earlier Citiscape decision, finds the leaseholders liable to pay for the cost of replacement cladding under the terms of their leases.
Pemberstone instructed JB Leitch, the Liverpool-based debt collectors, in the case, who are also being employed by Slough Council against the leaseholders at Nova House.
Flat owners have to pay £3m recladding cost of two Manchester blocks
The owners of flats in two Manchester apartment blocks built with flammable cladding will have to pay an estimated £3m to have their homes made fire-safe, following a ruling by a tribunal. Vallea Court and Cypress Place in the city’s Green Quarter failed fire safety checks last July and were found to have cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower.
Property giant wants residents to pay £10k each to remove Grenfell-like cladding
A property giant is dragging hundreds of city centre residents through the courts to force £10,000 each out of them for the removal of dangerous Grenfell-style cladding. One year on from the tower block tragedy, more than 300 leaseholders at Vallea Court and Cypress Place in the Green Quarter, Manchester, have been arguing their case at a tribunal.
Leaseholders must pay £10k cladding costs
Leaseholders in two high-rise blocks with dangerous cladding must pay more than £10,000 each for its removal, a tribunal has ruled. Freeholder Pemberstone had argued it should not fund the work at Cypress Place and Vallea Court in Manchester.
Flat owners face £10,000 bill over Grenfell-style cladding after losing tribunal
Flat owners have been left devastated after a tribunal ruled they must pay £10,000 each to replace Grenfell-style cladding on their homes – AND legal costs. A year after the horrific tragedy, property investor Pemberstone took more than 300 leaseholders at Vallea Court and Cypress Place in the Green Quarter to a tribunal over their refusal to foot the £3m bill.
How much? Green Quarter residents told to pay £3m to replace Grenfell-style cladding
As leaseholders are asked to stump up costs, is it time we turned the sprinklers on the property barons? By Danny Moran. The news that residents at two Green Quarter tower blocks are being asked to pay for their buildings’ cladding to be replaced is merely the latest spectacle to be seen at the ideal homes atrocity exhibition currently touring the nation.
Pathetic response from government. I’m guessing they don’t want to offend their mates?
I believe Government Officials know the facts, but are warned not to rock the boat as this would be seen as treachery to the party.
Looking on the bright side, the present shower of government ministers are probably enjoying summer patronage and not forced to blush at their pathetic claims that freeholders have a moral duty.
I have never found it possible to believe they believed their own moralising drivel. Who made the law after all?
And no promised reform bill by summer recess…
It pays to be a cynic. Hope is a killer.
What a feudal backwater this country is.
Chris, Just seen a write up for an old Cowboy Film. Is was about a Crooked Sheriff a Paid off Crooked Judge and a Missing Crooked Landowner.
It reminded me of the recent Leasehold events in FTT and the Determinations made at the Tribunals.
Surely now there must be a Select Committee/Judicial Enquiry, into the workings of Leasehold to include all those involved being:-*Freeholder-Landlord-Managing Agents- Professional Bodies- Legal People-Construction Companies-Estate Agents.
Have I missed anyone?
Why is it that these corrupt organisations; LEASE and the FTT fail to apply the law when interpreting the lease when the lease leans in favour of the leaseholder, i.e., when there is a clear reading that the Service Charge accounts should be audited and the total maintenance expenditure certified and that the certificate should be served on the Lessee within six months and that that is a provision of the lessee paying.
Why is LKP also not looking at the failings of RICS, ARMA and sister to RICS, Ombudsman Services Property (soon to be gone thankfully) in their continued failings to protect the leaseholder and ensure Managing Agents are subjected to a degree of self regulation.
My 15 month investigation by RICS ended in no disciplinary action being taken against my MA and the following comment “Thank you for contacting RICS Regulation and assisting us in enhancing the risk profiling of our Members and Firms.”
Can anybody explain?
“Thank you for contacting RICS Regulation and assisting us in enhancing the risk profiling of our Members and Firms.” – this is called rubbing salt into the wounds.
There is nothing worse than entering into a legal process with rightful conviction, then spending an enormous amount of time conforming with the required (senseless) procedures, and finding that your take on right and wrong is out of kilter with our learned friends take on right and wrong.
“Can anybody explain?” There is always a way for those who have been given the power to make judgements to make those judgements favourable to those who they wish to be favourable to.
“No lawyers, no letters”, Duchess of Duke Street, circa late 1970’s (TV series)
However my take on right and wrong was based on their own Code of Practice, Service charge residential management Code and additional advice to landlords, leaseholders and agents 3rd edition.
The only problem was that they failed to hold their member accountable to it or even mention it!
I had the same problem with RICS.
Couldn’t complain to ARMA re: our MA at the time because one of their members was chairman of ARMA!! So complained to RICS. After much meaningless debate with them they suddenly decided they could take no action against MA’s only chartered surveyors. We found out later the same chairman of ARMA had once worked for RICS!!!
They are all in it together and look out for each other but definitely NOT us the leaseholders.