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From earlier today in The Guardian. I am not involved other than as a fairly horrified reader. I wonder what will happen here?A lot of people will have bought through the First Time Buyer or Shared Ownership schemes I suspect, but I guess some flats will have been bought by landlords too.From The GuardianA homeowner in a housing complex in London with Grenfell-type cladding has been told the value of her £475,000 home has collapsed and is now just £50,000.
Galliard Homes, the developer of the 11-block complex in New Capital Quay in south-east London, is facing a £30m-£40m bill to replace the cladding and is locked in a legal dispute over who should pay.
The dispute, which could take years to resolve, has left Cecile Langevin, 32, and potentially thousands of others up and down the country, with an unsellable flat.
“It is like someone has taken away our life choices, our freedom,” she said. “And nobody is doing anything about it,” she added, in tears.
I honestly don't think I'm the enemy of the people
The value slashed? They are often unmortgageable too, ive had a few cases now in high-rises where the lender has asked for reports on the type of cladding used.
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Yes, quite. A couple of years ago, I viewed a flat in a block in the midlands. Apparently, the sale had fallen through twice before, as the "purchasers couldn't get the money". The SP was 110k, and in front of my very eyes, whilst discussing the matter, the price suddenly dropped to 60k, guide price, going to auction.
The flat was built in the 60s, using high alumina concrete, which made them unmortgageable. I was told on the phone "they're hoping some idiot will buy it at auction, then get stuck with it".
Thousands of flats affected according to the article and apart from Class Actions for compensation, the piece also flags the issue that under rules of Help To Buy you have to repay the government deposit loan... but this woman is arguing that she owes 20% as her flat has devalued by 80%. This could cost the taxpayer millions!
Quote from The Guardian: Langevin funded the flat in 2014 through some savings, a mortgage with a high-street bank and a £95,000 government loan under the Help to Buy scheme designed to help people without enough savings to get on the property ladder.
She said she could repay that loan without selling, under the government’s rules. But she believes she has to repay only 20% of the market value, which at £50,000 means she would owe £10,000 and the government would lose £85,000 of its loan to her.
Langevin believes that many other homes in the NCQ development were purchased on the Help to Buy scheme, which was heavily promoted by Galliard at the development’s launch.
She has had no answer from Target HCA, which is administering the scheme, other than to say it is a “novel” request.
“They are being evasive, because they know if they have to do this for me they have to do it for everyone who asks,” she said.
Regardless of how much of the government loan she has to repay, Langevin is still subject to huge negative equity because the value of the flat has plummeted.
Flats just seem to continually have so many problems associated with them.
They simply are very poor investments when you factor in the problems.
I would never purchase a flat again.
These poor flat owners are stuffed .There will be many people bankrupted.
The fallout of the Grenfell fire continue unabated.
I do wonder whether the institutions are considering the issues of Fire Safety in flat blocks
Will they wish to continue investing?
Grenfell was caused by one defective fridge.
Had that fire been in a house there would not have been the fire deaths
Flats simply are not fit for purpose.
Houses are always better
Flats certainly should not be used for social housing.
Low rise flats are possibly acceptable as we're built in the 30''s.
I would never invest in a flat in a high rise even the Shard if I could afford it
Very few people die in low rise buildings.
911 and now Grenfell prove that high rises are dangerous places to live and work.
Paul, you make a very good point about will institutions continue to invest.
BTR is almost always based around flats with a 'how high can we make them' attitude, with very little worry as to how the people who live in them will feel in 20 years on the 20th floor.
It's like history keeps repeating itself - todays grand is tomorrows ghetto, and these buildings will only cost more over the years to maintain. Exterior works cost a fortune what with cherry pickers or scaffolding!
I have even less interest in flats now unless they're no more than 3 storeys high. Properly managed accommodation doesn't need to be any higher for the most part.
Yep choosing flats no higher than 3 storeys make sense
The standard Fire service rescue ladder can reach 13.5m which gets to just about the 4th floor as each floor is considered to be 3 m high
The old Escape ladders could reach the Fifth floor.
Anything higher and a wait for aerial appliance is required.
Govt has reduced numbers of these.
Questions remain as to the viability of flats.
It could be that the Govt dream of institutions funding large blocks of rental flat are over.
Can you imagine Corporate manslaughter charges if there is ever a major fire at an institutional BTR block of flats.
These flats are filled with highly flammable products along with very risky electrical appliances.
Electrical appliances are very risky.
It is simply a fact that these appliances are a fire risk.
They are not perfectly constructed and there is so system used record keeping of where domestic appliances are located that might be on the dodgy list.
I have seen properties devastated nearly killing the occupants caused by one defect white good appliance.
These are domestic hazards no matter how benign they may look.
Your fridge or tunbledryer really can kill you and many others if in a tower block.
It is hard to get your head around the fact that your fridge is out to kill you!
Complacency over these labour saving devices should not occur.
It must be recognised that these electrical goods can easily cause fire deaths.
The shine has really come off BTR tower blocks
A new block is currently being uncovered near me. It was delayed for sprinklers to be fitted.
I believe that tower blocks are designed so that fires should not spread from floor to floor, but cladding can stop that.
I saw a fire in one once where the discussion afterwards was how the open plan office design had allowed the wind to blow through the floor so that the flames lapped up and the two above were alos damaged (out of about 20).
What you are describing is the columnar effect
I'm sure I have the name wrong.
It is over 40 years since I learnt about it
Yes you are totally and utterly correct.
Tower blocks are designed to be essentially concrete boxes where all the contents may be destroyed in a particular box or flat.
The problem that you correctly allude to is that the fire protection measures had been compromised over the years from the original perfectly satisfactory design.
Since then such fire protection measures have been over the years severely compromised .Things like unsuitable cladding; missing Fire door's etc
It was unfortunately a Labour Govt that introduced the Regulatory Fire Reform Order which removed the Fire Service from many areas of Fire Inspection and enforcement. .
This has been proven by recent events to be a very bad piece of fire legislation.
A return to the days of Fire Service enforcement would be preferable.
Such enforcement was never political
The rules were the rules and the Fire Service rigourously enforced them.
You have seen tower blocks where there are gaps in the wall and large non-fire stopped gaps .
These are perfect for fire spread.
One defective fridge killed so many people
It is a disgrace.
Fire protection measures are clearly inadequate but even where they are the occupants of these blocks play merry havoc with such protection measures. .
This only occurs in social housing blocks.
Never in any private block did I see fire protection measures tampered with. .
Alright the occasional wedged fire door but that was it.
Living in any tower block can be risky.
Personally I would live no higher that the 4th floor of any block.
It is just the case that tower blocks for social housing are unwise.
They simply don't work very well for those that need social housing
I prefer those who need social housing to be in houses or low rise flats.
We could demolish every single social housing tower block and replace with normal housing on the footprint and space that surounds social housing blocks .
It should also be remembered that when it all goes wrong on the 14th floor it is not just residents that die.
A fair few firemen have been killed in recent years fighting high rise fires.
It is obvious that logistically it simply isn't easy to deal with such fires.
I'm sure if you asked those in social housing flats whether they would prefer a low rise flat or a house they would all reply in the affirmative .
The best solution for social housing tower blocks is to demolish them and replace with houses and very low rise flats.
It will be interesting to see what the cost ramifications will be to make existing tower blocks compliant
I have read that some councils are considering it not worth doing and to demolish and replace.
I can't see BTR private tenant blocks being attractive unless you can strictly control what goes into the flats and who occupies them.
But even then I would not rent above the 4th floor.
Be interesting to see how the BTR mob behave.
Grenfell could be the end of this Govt's dream that BTR will be the solution to all those nasty evil private LL stopping FTB buy!!!!!!!
Here are a couple of pictures of the fire I saw.
Hi all, just joined!
I read that story with horror today, it's totally unbelievable this is happening and the people who are now stuck with either a massive repair bill or heavily reduced property values - either way they are totally shafted. I hope the Govt steps in and provides some assistance or guidance - these people should not have to pay for rectification works.