The impact of HHSRS 2006 (Staircase)

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    The impact of HHSRS 2006 (Staircase)

    Dear all - I am a relatively new LL of a first floor flat in a converted Victorian building with 3 flats (Ground, First, Top). The staircase from ground to first floor is narrow, fairly steep and without handrails but just walls on either side, and I suspect that the landing bannister does not also meet the current HHSRS regulations.

    I am keen to install handrail and to amend the landing bannister to meet the HHSRS regs but I am not sure if I will be able to go ahead with these things without the permission from the other two owners. I own flat 1 and a share of leasehold with the leasehold being responsible for all communal areas.

    I have a good relationship with the other owners but what if they decide to veto my proposal to make the staircase meet the new regs? Can I install things anyway in the name of the law?

    Thanks for your advice.

    PS: the ground floor is let out, the top flat is owner-occupied.

    #2
    You will need the consent of the freeholder. When was the conversion done - check with the Building Control department of your local council as to whether building regs/consent was given and if the work was passed off.



    Freedom at the point of zero............

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your reply. I represent 1/3 of the freeholder, the freehold is owned by a limited company of which I own 34 shares, so if I get consent from at least one other shareholder, to create a majority, I will have the consent. Technically possible, but not the best move in the interest of retaining good relationship with the remaining shareholder. The conversion was carried in 1980s, I am sure that the work would have passed etc but in 1980 the rules on staircases were different, I imagine!

      Thus, let me ask you differently, what are the risks if I don't carry out the work on the staircase to meet the current regulation due to the fact that I was not able to get consent of the freeholder? If the freeholder is responsible for ensuring safety, then the freeholder is liable for any injuries caused by this negligence, right? This presents a case whereby I am 1/3 responsible, as I own 1/3 of freehold. So the best solution would be to explain to the rest of the freeholder, i.e. 2/3 of shareholders, that improving the safety of the staircase is in the interest of the freeholder.

      Any comments on this much appreciated. Thank you.

      PS: I am so pleased that I have not used the term "share of freehold", @leaseholdanswers would be pleased.
      Last edited by northouse; 25-08-2014, 22:09 PM. Reason: leaseholdanswers heavy furniture being hurled my way, so I was just checking....;o)

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by northouse View Post
        I own flat 1 and a share of leasehold with the leasehold being responsible for all communal areas.
        OK, can I take this back? There's no such a thing as a share of freehold...I can only blame leaseholdanswers for making me to admit to this!
        CORRECTION: I own one of the three flats, and I also own 1/3 share in the company that owns the freehold...phew.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by northouse View Post
          OK, can I take this back? There's no such a thing as a share of freehold...I can only blame leaseholdanswers for making me to admit to this!
          CORRECTION: I own one of the three flats, and I also own 1/3 share in the company that owns the freehold...phew.
          Phew....LHA would of unleashed his wrath upon you
          Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

          I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

          It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

          Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

          Comment


            #6
            It all depends on the building regulations in force at the time of conversion as if it passed muster at that time. It is not uncommon to find this situation and the freeholder has to consider 3 things.

            1 The degree of risk to users of the building and that means the owners visitors guests postman and burglars.
            2 2006 can impose a statutory obligation if it creates a risk as they define it
            3 The reduction in width after adding rail(s)

            However unless there is some factor that I am not aware of 1 is sufficient to motivate you to add a handrail. They and their fixings are not expensive and a morning work with a decent drill and a level and it will be done.
            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.

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you all for your comments.

              The installation of the handrail will go ahead and I will also make a note to the rest of the shareholders about the perceived risks as outlined in HHSRS 2006.
              For those reading this thread at a later date and finding themselves in similar situations I would suggest that you identify possible risks and make a group decision, i.e. as a freeholder, to mitigated any hazards. After all, it is the freeholder who is responsible for the safety of communal areas etc. Thus, don't do what I am doing in this instance.....I am paying for the installation of the handrail as it's in the interest of both landlord (me) and freeholder (1/3 me).

              In an ideal world, the freeholder, i.e. the company would cover these costs but since I am unlikely to convince ground floor and top floor shareholders to pay their share, it will be on me, this time only!
              I will record this in the minutes of our AGM and will thank the leaseholder of flat 2 (me) for his kind gesture.

              Am I being too nice? Maybe, but I don't want to lose my good tenant, so there's a vested interest too!
              Last edited by northouse; 26-08-2014, 13:33 PM. Reason: post-production proofreading

              Comment


                #8
                Aah no the real risk is that to other users, and that is a clear risk that as the common areas are non domestic premises, and a work area, eg chap changes light bulbs or lady cleans, HASAWA 1974 and a couple of other Acts apply.
                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.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Of course, it all makes very good sense. Thank you for your advice and for not hurling any items of furniture in my direction for the previous faux pas regarding 'share of freehold' [sic].

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Not a problem HR tells me that I shouldn't do it and I agree. Furniture I have to pay for, staff I can replace mwah ha ha.

                    The issue as you how see is what if one of us or the postman falls down which would have been avoided if we had a handrail"?

                    its the sort of case "Blame Direct" love...at 50% of the compo.
                    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.

                    Comment

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