Co freeholders not prepared to pay for fire safety

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    Co freeholders not prepared to pay for fire safety

    Hi I am an owner occupier who lives in a converted victorian property which has been converted into 4 separate flats - 2 of which are landlord owned.

    The mortice locks to both the front and back communal doors have been increasingly intermittently failing over the past 18 months or so and it has got so bad that I cannot reliably get into the building, nor can I or and an upstairs tenant reliably get out should there be a fire.

    We were kindly advised by the fire safety person at the council to get keyless exit locks along with fire doors for each of the 4 flat doors that open onto the communal hallways. This advice was also echoed by 2 locksmiths- both of whom said the security curtain of both locks was failing intermittently.

    I requested at a house meeting that the locks be changed because they were

    1. Starting to fail and even if they weren’t they were

    2. effectively a fire hazard given that you have to use keys to exit the building (different ones front and back).

    I was strongly verbally abused and made out to be the problem and the meeting broke down. It was all fortunately recorded word for word on video.

    Given the seriousness of this in terms of health and safety, insurance compliance etc - my mother (one of the landlords) and myself said at the meeting that we’d pay for it ourselves if necessary and one of the other owner occupiers said “do what you want but don’t expect me to pay for it”. The other land Lord had spat the dummy and effectively stormed out of the meeting.

    As unfair as it is I and my mother are prepared to subsidise the other co freeholders who are not paying their fair share / honouring their legal obligations to ensure that the building is health and safety compliant.

    I was prepared to leave it at that.

    However I have now received abusive messages accusing me of compromising security at the house and a demand that I now have to get the old mortise locks reinstated at my own expense.

    For it to be keyless exit for fire escape purposes, the old failing mortice locks did in fact have to be decommissioned when the new locks were installed.

    I have also had the other owner insist that I give him copies of the keys “as a courtesy” despite his not being willing to pay his share. I personally do not believe I should have to as his downstairs flat is readily accessible through it’s own separate entrance and his tenants can now (after the improvements I and my mother paid for) safely easily escape through either of the communal doors should it ever be necessary.

    please advise:

    Do I have to reinstate the old locks at my own expense?

    Do I have to provide keys for free to someone not prepared to pay their share of legally necessary work - although they can readily enter their flat and escape their flat without said keys?

    As a person on long term disability I am not in a position to pay a solicitor to deal with this - are there any books on co freeholder law issues written in plain English so I can represent myself if it comes to it.

    thanks in advance for any advice regarding this


    To clarify- we did let the others know by email we would be getting the locks made fire exit friendly within the next 2-3 weeks at the time. And we did in fact get them changed over which has unfortunately angered two of the 4 co freeholders both of whom wish to avoid paying for repairs, essential works etc generally


      It is the responsibiolity of the Landlord to comply with H&S recomendations, AND not to allow locks to be faulty and cause you to be unable to enter the bilding.
      You lease somewhere will state the Freholder / landlord has to keep the place in good order and maintained ( look for it ) and they have failed to do so.

      No, you don't have to return the fauty locks into the doors.

      Send the freholder / landlord a bill for your time - @ 18 per hour + parts + conrtacted out labour, - stating that if not paid within 14 day, you will apply to the F.T.T. to appoint a Manager, due to the Landlord refusing to keep the property safe and well maintained.



        They ARE the freeholders. (Clue is in the post title).

        I suggest they just carry on maintaining safety and take from service charge in usual way. Ignore all other requests.


          I would follow the ram way but in this particular case we had all owners cooperation after receiving a letter from council saying that they would carry out the repairs and Bill everyowner


            I would definitely not apply for a Tribunal to appoint a manager, that is unlikely to be in any of your interests.

            I suggest that you ask your contact at the council to write to the freeholders and remind them of their responsibilities.


              If the 2 downstairs flats are let to tenants and do not have fire doors, inform the Council who will visit and most likely take action to ensure all appropriate fire doors are fitted - including yours - at the owners cost.

              That's the only way I can see them paying.

              TBH you should have done that before upgrading the exit doors/locks (btw do these doors have self-closers fitted?)
              My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


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