'Confusion, upset and stress' as leaseholders are caught up in a bonfire of common sense
For context, please read Green Quarter residents told to pay £3m to replace Grenfell-style cladding (22 June 2018).
The verdict was expected, but that will be scant consolation to the residents of two Green Quarter tower blocks who - it’s now been confirmed - are to be held liable for the cost of replacing flammable Grenfell-type cladding on their homes.
Ten thousand pounds per person is the back-of-an-envelope guestimate for the bill which will now be presented to home-owners at Cypress Place and Vallea Court, after a hastily-convened tribunal elected to bind them to the terms of their leases. As a further kick in the teeth it was ruled they will also have to foot the bill for their landlord, Pemberstone, to bring the case.
The affair raises serious questions as to the viability of the leasehold system and reinforces the expectation that thousands of apartment owners across the country will be forced likewise to front up the cash to make their tower blocks safe.
“We weren’t surprised,” confirms residents’ spokeswoman Katie Kelly. The weasel words which attended the ruling came as something of a shock, however.
“Lendlease (the original developer, seen by residents as the party who should be taking responsibility for the fiasco) yesterday issued a statement saying that it wasn’t actually them who built the blocks, naming some company who we’ve never heard of. That was the first we’ve heard of this, after they spent the last month telling us they had people working full time to help us find a solution.
“Turns out that was just bullshit. They were looking for a loophole.”
Hopes now rest with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has offered to mediate.
She describes the impact on residents as “Confusion, upset, stress…” The feeling that there’s no end to it. “I’m so angry. This guy, the way he spoke to me, calling me every day saying we want to sort this out. I put my faith in him. Honestly, I don’t know how far these people will go until they learn to act in a responsible manner.
“Plus, on the back of it all the management company, Living City, have decided to make our lives hell. After the fire in a block nearby they’ve issued us with threats to take us all to court if we don’t remove everything from our balconies. Pot plants, bikes, anything…
“It’s making peoples’ lives hell. It’s a living nightmare living there now.”
Hopes now rest with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has offered to mediate. Katie and the other residents are adamant that it is Lendlease, from whom they purchased their properties, who ought to foot the bill.
In the circumstances, the Australian property giant certainly shouldn’t be undertaking the redevelopment of the town hall, she argues.
Burnham is yet to comment on that aspect of the affair.
“So that’s our hope now, anyway,” says Katie. “That Andy can talk some sense into them. He’s meeting them on our behalf this week and says he wants to make this a case study for residents across the UK. So for now it’s full faith in Andy Burnham…”
We’ll keep you posted.
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