Freeholder requiring fire door replacement at cost of £2000 +

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    #16
    How old is the flat? - see if there are plans registered with the Council for the buildings construction ie the mention of Fire Doors and perhaps specification data etc.

    If you purchased it off the Council, I'm pretty confident the doors THEY HAD FITTED would have been fire doors and met the specifications they set at the time - so why would they question whether they are FD30 doors, with correct seals etc etc - does your door look the same as everyone elses or have you changed your door.

    Councils amaze me - my brother purchased his council flat. The Council decided they wanted to replace all of the upvc windows and told him they wanted to replace his but would not charge him.
    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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      #17
      The flat dates from the 1960s, I believe. I didn't buy it from the council. I was one step removed. I bought it from the people who bought it from the council.

      I haven't changed the door, no. It is a fire door (FD30, presumably) and I'm sure it would have been compliant with prevailing regs when it was fitted.

      I don't have much confidence in the competence or efficiency (or, following this, integrity) of the council and I think they were acting outside the scope of their authority in instructing me to replace my door to their specifications. Challenging them on this has probably put the matter to bed, I think, based on the lack of response. Hope so.
      There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

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        #18
        Complain to the Ombudsman. It worked for me.

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          #19
          By way of further update, the conversation with FH continues on this (extremely slowly and interspersed with long pauses on their side which can last for months at a time).

          My conclusion is that they made up many of the their stated "requirements", which have no basis in law or regulations. The door in question is my demised property and I am not obliged to comply with the Fire Safety Order as they insist, since it is a residential dwelling. The lease does not require me to upgrade my door on FH's instruction. They haven't got a leg to stand on legally, in my view.
          There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

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            #20
            Hi doobrey , I was looking all over the internet recently trying to find out more on whether our flat entrance door (in 3 storey victorian conversion) needs to be a fire door. Its so confusing, so I sympathise!
            We have been been told to change the existing door following the FireRiskAssesment requested during a remortgage..I have been quoted 2.5k by a company! Which seemed crazy as this never been mentioned before, we bought the flat 5 years ago, and re-mortgaged it since.
            I was also hoping that as residential dwelling we might be excluded, but the below description keeps popping up on different sources, including this one (https://www.lathamssteeldoors.co.uk/...lations-guide/)

            So they way I read it, we definitely need it..it just been overlooked before, but perhaps with the regulations tightening it is now being looked at by some mortgage providers..
            Let me know what you think and if this applies to your situation! Domestic buildings

            In domestic dwellings above two levels, every door leading to the stairwell (at all levels) must be a fire door, where the door leads to a habitable room. Fire doors are also required in loft conversions; between house and integral garage; and between the business and residential elements in a mixed-use building.

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              #21
              I hadn't read that one before, but my understanding of it would be that yes, flat entrance doors off a stairwell in a block of three stories or more should be fire doors.

              That being the case yes, I think it applies to my situation. But I already have a fire door and do not dispute that one is required.

              As per my situation, £2.5k seems very much excessive for installation of a fire door. A few hundred would seem more appropriate to me.
              There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

              Comment


                #22
                Hi Doobrey. I am in a similar position to you.

                For the past 2 years my council (who I bought my flat from under right-to-buy) have been trying to get me to pay for a fire door replacement.

                The first tactic they tried was to send me a letter and a form. The letter said that it had to be replaced under Section 20. The form allowed me to choose the style and colour and, more importantly, had a section that stated:

                I, the above leaseholder
                Confirm that I accept replacement of the door to my flat with a fire door that meets the current fire regulations. I understand that by signing this form, I agree to the charge of manufacturing an individual door for my flat and installing of this door for the estimated cost quoted. <snip> I will pay for the cost of this work and when invoiced and understand there may be payment options available.

                Underneath was a space to sign.

                I returned the completed form but with a handwritten amendment stating I would not pay for the replacement.

                Further correspondence followed. Typically starting with I had not replied to their last letter (because I had chosen the nonexistent 'No' option). One of my objections was that my current door was an FD30 fire door and that it had not been inspected. It is made from a FD30 blank but it has no smoke strip, older regulation hinges, and no closer but it could be upgraded, if needed. They agreed to a proper inspection. Imagine my surprise when they sent round a council employee as their "independent" fire door inspector.

                In their last letter to me they stated I had two options

                - Agree to pay for them to replace it
                - Buy my own (which had to be pre-approved by them and fitted to a higher than required standard)

                Failing that they would choose a door for me and take the money from my Major Works fund.

                Since any reply that failed to agree is seen as not replying, I did not reply thinking that having the £691 taken from my MW fund would be the best option. This seems to have been another lie on their behalf as the latest letter (sent, recorded delivery) States that:

                "An assessment under Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (which as far as I can see does not apply to homes or individual flats in a block, only businesses) shows that your front door is not suitable(ly) fire resistant."

                This is then followed by the threat of legal action: if you do not respond as requested (by 13th October, 2021) the Council will be left with no alternative but to consider legal action.

                I would not mind so much if this would provide any significant increase in safety, but it doesn't. Ours is a three flat block, one flat per level. Even from the top floor front door with a dodgy leg it only took me 88 seconds to get out the building door. This coupled with the fact that every flat has mains wired smoke alarms. In fact I could argue that it would make me less safe as light smoke in the hallway would be conclusive proof of a fire (not just burnt food causing the alarm to go off).

                Anyway it's nice to know there is somebody else fighting the stupidity.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Quite right. The Fire Safety Order does not apply to domestic dwellings. They are either bluffing or just don't know what they are talking about. I found that once challenged, they eventually went away.

                  I think the Fire Safety Act 2021 may change things, though(?)
                  There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    It is no longer available but some time ago, while I was trawling the Net, I did find this on pg 40 (29.2 paragraph two) of: https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/defau...-built-04b.pdf

                    In the case of many existing leasehold flats, the responsibility for maintenance of the flat entrance doors rests with the residents. In this case, the freeholder’s power to arrange for defects to be rectified may be limited or non-existent, making enforcement action on the freeholder inappropriate.

                    It also included this (Pg 47 - 37.2):

                    • Are the actions reasonably practicable, taking cost, effort and risk into account?

                    I wish I'd downloaded the entire thing now.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      I have got that document. "Fire Safety in purpose-built blocks of flats". It is a 3 MB PDF.

                      Happy to share. If you want it, send me a PM.
                      There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        My freeholder has started writing me letters about my door again. To reiterate (TLDR...), FH gives me two options: Either pay them to replace my front door at cost of over £2000, or get it done myself to their exacting specification and pay them to approve it.

                        I don't necessarily object to upgrading the door - although I am sure it is FD30 and I am confident that it was compliant with prevailing regs when installed and it has not been deemed non-compliant in FRA. I object to what I see as FH's unreasonable and unjustifiable demands - to the point where they are specifying what colour the new door must be (and that is different from the existing one, so it is a change rather than maintaining existing appearance).

                        The most recent letter is from a solicitor and makes several references to the lease. On the plus side, at least this shows they are paying attention.

                        On my question of what permits them to charge me for overseeing the work to my property which they are demanding, they are relying on the following:

                        To pay all rates taxes assessments charges impositions and outgoings (as well as the Service Charges covenanted to be paid in the Third Schedule) which may at any time during the said term be assessed charged or imposed upon the Flat or the owner or occupier in respect thereof and in the event of any rates taxes assessments charges impositions and outgoings being assessed charged or imposed in respect of the Building of which the Flat forms part to pay the proper proportion of such rates taxes assessments charges impositions and outgoings attributable to the Flat.
                        To the layman, this covenant could be understood to cover pretty much anything (i.e. LH must pay anything that anyone wants to charge them for, ever). My view would be that this is intended to refer to third party charges e.g. taxes and the like, rather than elective charges imposed by the freeholder.

                        Any legal info/views?
                        There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          'Bumped' as requested.
                          I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

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                            #28
                            This seems to be happening at every block of flats you can name ..except mine (at present) why is it not happening at mine ..because as of yet it has not become law . Even when it does freeholders/managing agents ,as the new law reads at present DO NOT have the legal powers to force an owner to change their front door . My sons block is behaving as all yours seem to be and his bill is coming in at £1800 ,he is only going along with it now as he has decided to sell and doesnt want new owner to have problems. Our managing agent is waiting for the law to come in and then to see if it does the landlord the right to force a new door on owners. Our front doors are our respsonsibility as are our windows , our doors are at present 30minute ,fire strips are fitted and between our front doors and our living rooms there is an internal hall . So our agents have decided,quite rightly we feel, that as the landlord has no legal right ,yet, they will wait and see.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              If the fire risk assessment determines that each flat should have FR30 or even FR30S, then ipso facto, they should. All residential leases include a clause that the lessee will comply with statutory regulation. Reluctantly I conclude that if front doors are any less than as now required they have to be brought up to standard. I think it more practical to have the work organised in one contract because quite frankly you couldnt really epect OAP lessees to be able to organise the upgrade; particularly as it is not just a fire door but quite often a fire door set, in other words the frame will need work to accept a door of 44mm width to fit snugly. I am being tucked up myself at a block in Marylebone and it is terribly expensive but the argument goes that the non compliant fire door perforates the protected escape route, which is why it must be upgraded.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Why dont you get your own quote from FIRAS-registered contractor?

                                Even if they put a door in, it will probably a budget door. It wont be a door, which has a value of £2,000.

                                If something costs a £100, it ends up costing Councils £500 because that is just what happens.

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