Freeholder requiring fire door replacement at cost of £2000 +

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  • doobrey
    replied
    When I challenged FH initially as to why the quoted cost was so excessive they replied that it was "due to a very expensive tender process" so yes, I agree.

    I reject some of their specification anyway. They are dictating the colour, for instance, and I now have confirmation in writing from their solicitor that this is necessary for fire safety and it is within FH's rights to demand at my cost. No Judge in their right mind would support that assertion.

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  • catdog1121
    replied
    So if a lot of the cost is in the tender process ask the council for the company they will be using and the specifications of the door... Go direct to the company and see how much it would cost for them to install, public sector is a cash cow for companies, I remember my old IT company selling a public sector body server racks, including all the extras, plus and installation service so they were preinstalled.. The public sector body then required the servers be installed in their specification racks so they had to pay for us to move them from the racks they paid for, having been preinstalled which they paid for, to top it off they even got charged for disposal of old racks..

    If you can get the company they use to install and it is installing the same specification I would then reject their inspection as it is not required.

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  • doobrey
    replied
    Thanks. Useful info.

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  • Section20z
    replied
    Originally posted by doobrey View Post

    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?
    I used this clause at an LVT many years ago trying to recoup insurance that wasn't specified in lease but it was rejected for pretty much the reason you give
    Obviously doesn't set a precedent but I think they'd be on dodgy legal grounds.

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  • doobrey
    replied
    I'm coming to the conclusion that I will probably get my own assessor in (not the FH's, which is what they are pushing for) and get it to current standards.

    I don't see why that person should have to be FIRAS-registered. Is there anything in legislation to indicate that FIRAS registration is necessary? FIRAS registration reduces options considerably. There are two such companies in the vicinity.

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  • Flashback1966
    replied
    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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  • L4NDLORD
    replied
    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.

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  • thenunn
    replied
    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.

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  • Moderator2
    replied
    'Bumped' as requested.

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  • doobrey
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • doobrey
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • ZaardoZ
    replied
    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.

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  • doobrey
    replied
    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(?)

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  • ZaardoZ
    replied
    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.

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  • doobrey
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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