Conservative MP Kelly Tolhurst has urged controversial freehold investor Israel Moskovitz to drop his legal action against 80 leaseholders to establish that they are responsible for building safety bills.
In addition Ms Tolhurst references the 5% his management company Y and Y Management – an ARMA member – that is run by Mr Moskovitz’s long-term business partner Joseph Gurvits, will receive for overseeing the works.
The Wharf, in Chatham, Kent, is less than 18 metres and has unsuccessfully applied to the government’s Building Safety Fund. Mr Moskovitz owns the income streams and is the landlord via a headlease through his company Triplerose.
Both Kent Fire Services and an EWS1 have identified concerns with timber cladding.
Eighty private leaseholders and the Town and Country Housing Association, part of Peabody, which owns a further 36 flats some in shared ownership, are facing the bills.
Y and Y Management has told Ms Tolhurst that the court action is necessary to obtain clarity on whether the works are “reasonable and who should pay for these works”.
Ms Tolhurst wrote to Mr Moskovitz three days ago:
“I believe that clarity over who should pay for these works is no longer needed as the above quotation from Mr Gove makes clear that leaseholders at The Wharf are not responsible to pay for these works.”
She urges Mr Moskovitz to suspend his legal action.
Ms Tolhurst is also concerned about a £3,900 a week waking watch that was imposed in December, but ceases on February 21. While the housing association shared owners will not pay towards this, the private leaseholders understand that they will have to.
Y and Y Management has told the court that it will apply the BSF after it was extended to buildings between 11-18 metres in height.
It has also approached developer Ardmore Limited, which built the site, “as to the possibility of their contribution to the work”.
“The response received indicated that they would not consider a contribution as the building as built was compliant with the Building Regulations at completion and there was no defect in the building,” Adam Zoulay, of Y&Y Management, has told the court on February 2.
“Under the circumstances I don’t believe there is another party obliged to contribute to the work. I am aware of announcements in government regarding contribution from leaseholders but there has been no guidance on how the work should actually be funded.”
Y&Y Management and the Town and Country Housing Association have agreed to do the works together, appointing contractors recommended by the latter.
Mr Moskovitz began the legal action on January 5, five days before Communities Secretary Michael Gove made his declaration that the sector not leaseholders is going to pay for the building safety failings (on top of the Building Safety Fund contributions from taxpayers).
He deployed his go-to barrister Justin Bates, a controversial figure himself in leasehold owing to a host of cases involving right to manage applications and other issues.