Financial responsibility for structural damage to building

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    Financial responsibility for structural damage to building

    I bought a first-floor new build flat in a block of eight in a converted building two years ago. The building will become ‘share of freehold’ once the vendor transfers the freehold to us in a few months’ time.

    In October 2020 I made the vendor aware that water was entering my flat during stormy weather—a long-term problem that was becoming increasingly apparent. This has been creating damp stains on the walls under my living room window; and the exposed wood of the window sills gets sodden.

    The vendor accepted responsibility for this as it is structural damage to the building, rather than a problem with my flat--as per the terms of the lease. She instructed her builders to erect scaffolding and investigate and repair the problem.

    Instead of investigating the exterior roof, window installation, brickwork, etc. the builders just tried a few fixes with silicon sealant. And they entered the roof void (which was bone dry). Progress was slow as each attempted fix had to be tested by stormy weather. Each attempted fix was unsuccessful.

    In March 2021, the vendor sent me a ‘without prejudice save for costs’ letter with a cheque for £1,500 for me to get repaired the internal damage the builders made while investigating the problem. In the letter she abdicated responsibility for the repairs to the structure of the building (and the interior of my flat). And she claimed that she had paid for the six months of scaffolding and the minimal building investigations out of “good will.” I replied, pointing out that she was legally responsible for repairs to the structure of the building as per the terms of the lease and that I would prefer not to have to begin the process of taking her to court.

    The vendor responded by assigning a managing agent to prioritise the repairs. We flat owners will be meeting with the new managing agent over the next week or two. So far, the vendor and the new managing agent are being evasive as to who is FINANCIALLY responsible for the repairs.

    The lease says that leaseholders are responsible for repairs to their flats; and the freeholder is responsible for repairs to the structure of the building. Surely that includes financial responsibility?

    I would be very grateful for some clarity on this.

    #2
    And is there a service charge which covers the cost of repairs carried out by the freeholder and charged back to leaseholders?

    If it is new build - any structural issues should be covered by warranty.

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      #3
      Originally posted by Anna1985 View Post
      And is there a service charge which covers the cost of repairs carried out by the freeholder and charged back to leaseholders?
      No, we have not paid so far for any repairs via a service charge. That would make us financially responsible for the state that the converted building was in when we bought our new build flats.

      Originally posted by Anna1985 View Post
      If it is new build - any structural issues should be covered by warranty.
      We flat owners have new build warranties for each of our flats. This isn't for structural repairs to the building.

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        #4
        I'm not following this. The lease might say freeholder is responsible for doing the works (that's normal). Where does it say he/she pays for that work.

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          #5
          Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
          I'm not following this. The lease might say freeholder is responsible for doing the works (that's normal). Where does it say he/she pays for that work.
          Well, this is what I want to understand. There has been a lot of damage to the building (burst pipes and flooding, problems with the sewage, black mould on the ceilings and walls of some of the flats). We all bought new build flats to avoid problems like this. But the building was converted badly and has caused damage to our supposedly new flats. So far the vendor has taken financial responsibility for this, which seems fair. But now she seems to be backing away. It isn't our fault that the building was badly converted, is it? Why should we pay for that?

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