Leaseholder or Freeholder who is responsible?Make Text Bigger
We purchased an off-plan flat in London from a well known developer about 6-7 years ago. A couple of months ago we received notice from the managing agent that the roof had been leaking badly and has caused substantial damage to some of the flats and needs replacing, thereby giving us notice of intention to carry out major work. They said they are trying to recover the costs from NHBC as the building is under 10 years old. Now we have received a demand for £2,200 to be paid by October. The total cost is nearly £152,000 divided between 74 flats.
We called the managing agent to get more details. Apparently, NHBC doesn’t cover the roof and the insurance doesn’t cover the roof either. It covers the damage caused to the flat but not the cost of replacing the roof.
The freeholders have approached the “First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber”. They have, in view of the urgency, dispensed with the consultation period. The work is starting and we are expected to pay.
I would like to know if it is possible for both, NHBC and the insurers to deny liability and avoid paying?
Is it normal for an insurance cover on a big block not to cover the roof?
What good is the insurance policy that doesn’t cover the roof?
A hefty proportion of the service charge is for building insurance cover, taken out by the freeholder.
In cases like this when the policy doesn’t cover the roof replacement, is it the freeholder’s problem or the leaseholders?
Do the leaseholders have a legal remedy?
I asked the managing agent for contact details of other leaseholders to form a consultation forum. As expected, they hide behind Data Protection Act.
What is the best way of forming a Residents Action Group (or Leaseholders’ Action Group, since most flats are let and residents are tenants)?
More generally, can the residents choose the management company and the insurance cover or they have to accept what the freeholder chooses?
What do leaseholders need to do to get collectively the freehold of the block they live in.
I and no doubt many other readers would be grateful for any insights, suggestions or answers to any of these questions.
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