And what the balconies were like before the fire:
LKP has been informed that the headlease owner of De Pass Gardens on Barking Riverside, which witnessed a serious fire today, is Adriatic Land 4.
These companies are part of the £1.6 billion ground rent fund Long Harbour.
The ultimate beneficial ownership of these freeholds / headleases are hidden behind nominee directors of the Sanne Group of company secretaries.
Mercifully, it seems no one was hurt today.
It is not known whether the Barking site was covered in Grenfell Cladding at this stage.
But the owners of freeholds have been asked – in vain – to step in to replace dangerous cladding.
The issue highlights the point that many freeholders, including owners of sites such as this one where very serious events occurs, are simply unknown.
Contrarily, freeholders like Long Harbour have been lobbying against government’s proposed reforms of the leasehold system.
They claim commercial landlords – a loose term also applied to private equity speculators – are the only entities that can be relied upon to be the “responsible long term custodians” of a building.
How can they be responsible if they operate in secret?
Sebastian O’Kelly, director of LKP, said: “Both Sajid Javid and his successor as Communities Secretary James Brokenshire repeatedly urged speculators in residential freeholds to do the decent thing and pay to remove Grenfell cladding from private blocks of flats.
“They did not do so: we always felt it was optimistic to think they would.
“But the issue here is whether it is right and proper today for residential freeholders to own these assets anonymously, hiding their beneficial ownership behind nominee directors.
“They have to take serious decisions affecting the lives of thousands of ordinary people. They have considerable powers as well – forfeiture for example.
“They must take responsibility for their use and be identifiable, not hide in secret in clever and often offshore corporate structures.”
“Fortunately, no one was hurt although there have been cases of smoke inhalation.
“I believe it is wrong for residential freeholders to hide their identities in this way and an event like this demonstrates this.”