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Recladding cost of £3m for two Manchester blocks, flat owners told to pay

Two blocks of apartments in Manchester which were built with flammable cladding, need making firesafe at a cost of £3m. The owners of the apartments have been told that they will have to pay for the work following a ruling by a tribunal.

Both Vallea Court and Cypress Place failed fire safety checks last July when they were found to have cladding similar to that on Glenfell Tower.

The Owners of the two Manchester blocks were took to a tribunal by the freeholder, arguing that as leaseholders they were responsible for replacing the aluminium composite material cladding.

The tribunal which concluded on Thursday sated that the apartment owners are responsible for paying for the replacement cladding through their service charges, in addition to Pemberstone’s legal fees who bought the freehold from the Australian development company, Lendlease in 2015. It was also ruled that the owners of flats in Vallea Court should fund a ‘waking watch’, to guard one of the blocks until it was made fire safe.

The leaseholders have previously highlighted a letter they received from Lendlease when they first bought their flats, which read: “Lendlease will undertake, at our expense, to complete any accepted defect that has arisen as a result of either faulty materials or defective workmanship.”

Katie Kelly, who lives in one of the blocks, told the Guardian this month: “If you bought a new car from a manufacturer and it suddenly set on fire as you were driving it and they all had to be recalled, you wouldn’t be expected to pay for the fact that it was faulty.”

The leaseholders who represented themselves at the tribunal raised money for a letter from a lawyer using crowdfunding.

A spokesman for Pemberstone said: “The tribunal is an independent forum to which landlords and leaseholders can apply to establish clarity on issues of this type. It is particularly appropriate for large schemes like this where there are 345 apartments, of which 75% are owned by investors and some of whom are located overseas.

“Now that the tribunal decision has been issued, this should allow us to establish a clear way forward.”
The company said it appreciated the concerns of those living in the blocks and that the buildings’ managers were working closely with the fire service to keep people safe. “We will consider carefully and sympathetically how any payments can be structured to spread the cost over time,” said the spokesman.

A spokesperson for Lendlease said: “Shepherd’s Construction, were responsible for the design and build of Vallea Court and Cyprus Place, and the current owner of the building is Pemberstone Ltd.”

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