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.
    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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