Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower last year, at least 130 private apartment complexes have failed cladding tests.
The leaseholders of one of these complexes, the 95 apartment Citiscape complex in Croydon, may face a bill running into hundreds of thousands of pounds following a ruling by the First Tier Tribunal. The case was brought by the managing agents who were seeking clarification as to who should pay for the remedial works.
The leaseholders felt that the cost of replacing the cladding should not be added to the service charge as it was not a matter of disrepair and did not fall under “periodic expenditure”.
However, the tribunal chairman, Angus Andrew, ruled against the leaseholders and said that they should pay because “if the manager is obliged to do the work….the tenants are obliged to contribute to the cost although they remain entitled to dispute the reasonableness of the cost”.
Angus Andrew suggested residents may have claims against other parties involved including the Government, the cladding manufacturer and the builders. He also said that leaseholders could consider taking action against the local authority “if there were errors in the certification process”, because buyers of the apartments would have relied upon the issuing of Building Control Certificates of Completion as evidence that the properties were compliant with building regulations.
Unfortunately for the leaseholders, no claims can reasonably commence until the public enquiry into the causes of the Grenfell fire have been reported on and that is unlikely to be until 2019 and until then, the leaseholders will find themselves in limbo and potentially unable to sell their properties.