Are Leaseholder responsible if Developer doesn't follow Fire Regulations

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  • Are Leaseholder responsible if Developer doesn't follow Fire Regulations

    Hi Guys

    Following on from my earlier post regarding the Developer not building the Flats to Building Regulations. Residential 13 storey block with two basement floors Commercial, completed in 2008.

    The Managing Agent has been handed the completed Surveyors Report.
    The Agent has sent a letter with the following
    The report has made assumptions that the building has been designed and constructed in accordance with Approved Document Pt B of the Building Regulations and as such various fire compartments should have been provided in conjunction with a fire fighting lift, dry risers, zoned fire alarms, smoke detection and regulated smoke control. In this regard it has been identified that a number of the fire compartments are either incomplete or have been poorly constructed and thus do not meet the minimum requirements as set out in AD Pt B for a building of this nature.
    The Agent has also said it is the Leaseholders who are responsible for all costs associated with bringing the building up to the required standard and are applying to the LVT to dispense with S20 as this is a matter of urgency.

    The previous problem of who are the parties involved with the Lease was sorted by the LVT. However this arrangement means the Landlord has recently signed a Head Lease with the Freeholder (Developer), obviously the New Landlord doesn't want to pay for something if they can pass the cost to either Leaseholders or Freeholder.

    My question is - Are the Leaseholders responsible? Or is the Managing Agent only trying to frighten the Leaseholders and minimise the costs for the Landlord?

  • #2
    First of all forget ideas about RTM as you must leave this in the control of the landlord*.

    Second for the retained parts ( those not demised in a lease) it is always the responsibility of the landlord, always.

    As owners you may have the defence of Defective Premises Act 1972, and possibly under Occupiers' Liability Acts 1957 and 1984, depending on the circumstances.

    Those same defences to those costs exist for parts demised in the lease, as well as any contractual remedy between vendor and buyer.

    As leaseholders there is the scope of the lease wording, and the LVT can take into consideration those defences in
    determining a service charge.

    Is there an NHBC or other building warranty such as Zurich's?

    I suggest that you gather as much information on ownership and the leases and directly contact Counsel for advice, using a fund made up of those of you who can contribute or is one of you has legal expenses insurance.

    Do not expect the LVT to deal with this well by personal application, I strongly suggest that you employ advisors as arguments in the above are complicated.

    http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/instruc...public-access/
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

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    • Hidden Admin Fees
      37eeyore
      My son is a leaseholder in an ex local authority flat that is now owned by a housing authority. I have recently been checking his service charge bill and received a summary of charges and copies of the repairs invoices. When I matched up the invoices to the summary I discovered that every invoice had...
      28-01-2017, 13:32 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      andydd
      Aha.;.thanks leaseholder64, not something I'd come across before and explains the reference to UC by the FH/LL. I havnt read the document completely but it makes some sense, for example a Service Charge would normally cover repair costs, etc and you would expect UC to cover this amount BUT Service Charges...
      23-08-2017, 16:05 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      leaseholder64
      The real question is how do they come up with 15%. Splitting the excess over the fixed cost in proportion to input costs is a cheap way of meeting the UC apportionment conditions. That way, larger jobs will subsidise small ones, but that won't affect how much you actually pay. However, the 15% needs...
      23-08-2017, 14:30 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      37eeyore
      The lease says - all other costs incurred by the Landlord in or in connection with maintenance or management of the building. No fixed fee mentioned although, as I said, we pay a fixed management fee.

      They have a qualifying long term agreement with a company to carry out all maintenance....
      23-08-2017, 13:59 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      leaseholder64
      Although the RICS guidelines (which may not apply in all cases to RSLs) recommend a fixed annual fee covering the basic service, and routine maintenance, they do accept that:



      may be subject to additional charges, and 15% is in the right ball park. What they do say is that...
      23-08-2017, 13:48 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      37eeyore
      It's not the management fee I object to. This is a fixed amount that we pay every year and is clearly stated on the service charge demands. What I object to is the 15% admin fee they they add to every repair bill before they charge us. The figure for maintenance on the service charge demand is a lump...
      23-08-2017, 13:11 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      leaseholder64
      Looking further through the UC document, apportioning the management fee by input costs appears to be acceptable to the state.

      Looking at the actual legislation, the general maintenance element is covered not just for shared ownership cases, so I think that painting is in. Ground floor...
      23-08-2017, 13:01 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      37eeyore
      Thanks for the in depth reply.
      I don't see how it affects the 15% admin fee they add on to invoices as these are only for repairs to the communal areas of the building. Everything else is included in the maintenance charges which don't have 15% added because they are covered by the management...
      23-08-2017, 12:52 PM
    • Reply to Hidden Admin Fees
      leaseholder64
      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.g...s-guidance.pdf is or was the rules for paying service charges out of universal credit.

      Allowable charges are:


      In category A, the only allowable charges are:



      It is therefore necessary to separate communal...
      23-08-2017, 12:12 PM
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      andydd
      Yes thats a standard catch all clause, mine has one too, but an FTT would look at it and only allow actual costs incurred to be recovered, they cant just make up an amount..it would allow a certain reasonable cost of management to be recovered, either self management or more likel;y the cost of employing...
      23-08-2017, 11:46 AM
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