Freehold owner Artisan H2 Limited has managed to source insurance for its cladding site Albion Works in Manchester … but not if it burns down, as was confirmed today by property manager RMG Limited.
This awful situation has emerged as even freehold owners – supposedly the “professional long-term custodians” of buildings, according to lobbyists for commercial interests in leasehold – struggle to obtain insurance cover owing to the cladding crisis.
LKP is aware of other blocks which have been without insurance altogether, but these have been self-managed sites with either a residents’ management company or an RTM.
Then issue has been raised by a leaseholder at the site, and today it was addressed on Twitter by local MP Lucy Powell.
The leaseholder wrote to the freeholders,Artisan H2 Limited, whose directors are given as Margaret Moya Ball and William Andrew Jones
“As I am sure you are aware, you as a freeholder have a legal obligation to arrange insurance for the building which you own. I pay ground rent annually to you and expect in turn that you will fulfil your obligation to us as leaseholders.
“I am sure you can imagine my shock to hear at 10.30pm on Friday night that my building was not insured for fire and that it hadn’t been since the end of August. As there are around 120 flats now not insured for fire in your buildings, which have been confirmed to have serious fire safety issues, this is extremely alarming.”
The leaseholder also claimed:
“Additionally I have since learned that there were a number of days last week when we were not insured at all for any risk under any cover whatsoever.”
This is not confirmed by block managers RMG Limited, which manages the site. It replied:
“The landlord does appreciate that they have a legal obligation, again they are making every possible effort to get the buildings insured to the required level. These efforts are ongoing and we will keep residents informed when the matter changes.
“I can confirm that the renewal discussions began in July 2020, Artisan employee [sic: employs] the services of a professional broker who was working on the renewal on their behalf. We were only informed that there was in issue within the last week, since we were advised of the issue all parties have attempted to address the issue.
“We communicated to the leaseholders as soon as it a practical to so. I would reiterate the comments in our original letter that we were very much in danger of having no cover at all, cover without fire is the best scenario currently but as stated we continue to look for a better solution.”
Albion Works featured in the Guardian in March:
Residents of flats in Greater Manchester who are facing huge bills to replace flammable cladding have told of “anxiety so extreme I can’t function” and feel they are members of “generation stuck”. A survey carried out by the Greater Manchester High Rise Task Force found 53% of owner-occupiers in tower blocks had been hit with increased service charges after the Grenfell Tower fire.