Once more the utter failure of leasehold has been exposed by the plight faced by residents at Citiscape, Croydon where it has been found that the same cladding fitted at Grenfell Tower adorns their development.
Clearly in all cases where similar cladding is fitted as a matter of some urgency they have to be replaced, which is an expensive process that has been made more expensive by some firms “cashing in” on the crisis and in some instances doubling their charges.
Thus far, local authorities appear to have acknowledged the exceptional nature of the situation and the inherent unfairness that burdening leaseholders with ruinous bills for something totally out of their control. As such they have deemed it correct to bear the initial cost and possibly pursue other angles of recovery of costs?
In the private sector the situation is all too different, as exemplified by the ordeal facing residents at Citiscape.
In any crisis of such a magnitude, quite possibly the worst combination that any resident could be faced with is that of Proxima (a Tchenguiz company) and, of course, our old friends FirstPort (formerly known as Peverel).
They were never going to act in the same way as Legal & General which, without fuss, immediately made it clear that irrespective of any legal responsibility falling on leaseholders it would pay to remove and replace the cladding on the block, where it owns the freehold.
On the basis that the freeholder must maintain his property, and that leaseholders must pay a service charge to fund that maintenance, the freeholder and managing agent want residents at Citiscape to pay in the region of £31,000 each (which doubtless will be reduced to demonstrate how hard FirstPort is working for the interests of their customers?)
Rather than carry out the cladding replacement they first want to go to the FTT to establish they can charge residents. Establishing the liability appears to be a very high priority.
We are all familiar with leaseholders being responsible to pay for maintenance. But in these circumstances?
If you buy a car, you accept you will maintain it. But if a fault is discovered affecting the model of car that you have bought, the manufacturer issues a safety recall and the problem is remedied at no cost to the car owner.
This is how it should be with the faulty cladding. It would be of interest to know, as at Grenfell Tower, the originally specified cladding for Citiscape had been “down specified”.
If so this could change the whole dynamic of the FTT case?
Two nights ago on his LBC radio show Darren Adams devoted an hour to the sufferings of the Citiscape leaseholders.
The show was scathing about FirstPort and Proxima.
Call after call came in – I was lucky enough to start the ball rolling – the absolute failings of leasehold and the way leaseholders were ruthlessly exploited at every turn was given widespread publicity.
The presenter, who is Scottish, repeatedly asked: “Why does England appear alone in maintaining the leasehold system?”
About Peverel and Leasehold Knowledge Partnership got several mentions and Darren Adams was kind enough to repeat the names as well.
About Peverel can be accessed here:
To carry on the good work of PeverelAction and TheTruthAboutSolitaire web sites, commenting on costs and management issues relating to Insurance, and Electricity, etc