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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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My mother owns the remainder of a 999 year lease (965 years)

Customer Question

My mother owns the remainder of a 999 year lease (965 years) on a flat in a building with 19 other flats, run by a Residential Management Company. It has been poorly maintained, currently using a contractor without the necessary skills for a Grade 2 listed building (and probably any building). His repair technique is to apply felt patches and use considerable amounts of bitumen to seal - a very temporary soloution. The roof is 150+ years old and requires replacement, as stated by several surveys, contractors etc, which most of the Directors will not accept. Work done is arranged and broken down such that it falls below the minimum amount for S20 consultation. Many of the claims that the roof is "sound" or equivalent to a new roof have been disproved - it constantly leaks and some flats are virtually uninhabitable. Because a number of the leasehoders are elderly, they do not attend the AGM and hand proxy votes to the incumbent directors, which keeps them in power. Despite convincing expert evidence of the state of the building, many do not want to pay for the necessary repairs as they have ben convinced they would be paying for others to reap the benefit. It was suggested at the AGM in 2012 by the Treasurer that a claim for storm damage to the roof be made after the next storm - a dishonest and stupid idea politely pointed out by some present, incuding myself - there is recorded evidence. Despite this, I discovered that a claim was made which is listed in the accounts sent out for this years AGM on Saturday last. Additionally, it was agreed that a Sinking Fund be set up two years ago and money be placed into a separate account - this had not happened. Also at the AGM were motions to use FMB/accredited contractors who offered underwritten guarantees and also that payments for work to be only by cheque or bank transfer to avoid abuses. Before this item, the Directors attempted to bring in their favoured builder to talk to the meeting and delay proceedings - not an agenda item and highly irregular. When a number of leaseholders and the Acting Secretary complained, the contractor was asked to leave and the meeting closed shortly after having run late, with few votes having been taken. Of 8 resolutions on the Agenda, only 2 were covered before the meeting was closed. There was the appointment of the Acting Secretary as Secretary, No mention appointment of new Directors or new members of the Management Committee. I am aware of pur rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act, such as appointment of a Manager and enforced repairs. I am not sure about what to do regarding the insurance issue - do I speak to the insurance company the building was covered by at the time, or the Insurance Fraud Investigators Group? With regard to the AGM, (presumably also covered by Companies Act). In submissions to a previous S20 Tribunal, the Management clearly stated that an annual AGM is held, which is a forum for consultation with members of the company. Because this largely did not happen on Saturday, was the meeting valid? Some leaseholders travelled 200+ miles to attend. Hoping you are able to provide some help. This has been an ongoing nightmare. Thanks Robert


Additions - typing errors corrected


1) There is much evidence showing poor decisions and project management, but the Directors' constantly state that this should be left in the past and we should move on. I feel past problems are relevant as they have never been resolved - only denied.


Further point 2):

I have just received a phone call pointing out that the AGM was deemed to have been officially postponed. Is there a deadline by when it has to be reconvened?


3) Added 1332


Evidence relating to building presented to AGM - not discussed before meeting closed


Building Timeline


AGM 2007 (10/03/07) Treasurer’s Report

“…Roof on top floor flats leaking. We are expecting a quote from Mr Roper for repair of the roof at a cost of approximately £4000 plus £1000 for fascia boards. This would have a 10 year guarantee…”


Never done - suspect insurance claim followed

Insurance claim for storm damage May/June 2007

Woodgate Clark – Loss Adjusters after considering BDH Report


“… Clearly there are two main issues of concern to yourselves as owners and occupiers of the building. Firstly, there is the question of damage to the existing roof structure and secondly, there is the question of internal damage due to ingress of rainwater caused as a result of the condition of the roof.


There appear to be various problems with the external roof structure itself, all of which appear to be a result of either pre-existing defects or natural long-term deterioration to which all roofing systems are prone. I would appear that maintenance issues appear to be of longstanding since there appears to be little other reason as to why there should have been previous coats of bituminous tar applied to the external slates, facings and flashings. The Survey report notes that underfelt is rotten near the eaves areas, which is something we had predicted… The survey also comments on issues such as lateral water penetration due to the general design of the large southern facing gable end wall and also possibly overspill issues due to the original poor design and poor flow capacity of the existing valleys and down corners which would not have ben able to cope during some of the more recent rain storms…”



Quote from Tiger Roofing for full new roof June 2007 - £62098 – slate

Neil Atkinson (formerly Tiger)


“…I can also confirm that in all conversations we strongly recommended re-roofing rather than repair work on the basis that the concrete tiles to the rear of the building were totally unsuitable for the pitch and weather conditions, the bitumen coating to the slates and tiles although having given a short term fix is now causing more problems than it solves and the bitumen based underfelt had deteriorated so badly to both front and rear elevations that it was almost impossible to make watertight this was fully explained at the time.


“It has proper had it – holes in the felt patched with black mastic…”

Mr Atkinson’s colleague at the time, Mr Parkin confirmed the above.


Committee Meeting 18th July 2009


6. Leaks to W Greatorex (17) and R Peart (14) flats

The rain on 17th July had been excessive and leaks had become apparent. After much discussion, it was agreed unanimously that the work on W Greatorex’s roof be completed…


Chairman’s Report February 2010 – J Roach work

“2009-2010 has been a difficult and challenging year for KWL. We have been beset by continuing problems associated with essential repairs related to the fabric of the building…


Following yet another building survey, the essential need to address the unsafe side cornice and loose render to the third floor balcony and front elevation of the building was identified as an absolute priority…


In autumn 2009, major rainfall saw water pouring (I use the word advisedly) through the roof of Flat 17 and marginally less serious leaks to the roofs of other third floor flats and into Flat 10…


Having decided that we could not replace the roof at this time then temporary repairs had to be approved…


This additional work which also addressed leaks around the chimney stack at the La Rosa end of the building and around the gas flue of flat 15….


The request for voluntary contributions met with little response….”


Mike Neville letter 18th February 2011


This letter is to inform you all that I notified Mrs Pat Ingham (Treasurer), in my letter of 18th January …that I had water coming through the kitchen ceiling of my flat…


On Saturday Mr XXXXX XXXXX a local builder… walked along the balustrade roof area and it was immediately obvious what the problem was… water, under what should have been the sealing membrane could be seen flowing under the membrane in a wave along its length…


In one spot there was a hole in the membrane and placing one foot either side of same, a jet of water approximately 12” high was ejected from under the membrane out of the hole…”



Tony Roach (Builder) 1st March 2011 email to Chairman Arthur Deakin


“The problem lies 100% with the atrocious state of the main roof to the building – as you are aware and as we informed the Treasurer Pat Ingham on several occasions…”




AGM 21st May 2011

Discussion of Treasurer’s Report:


“Mrs Ingham raised her concern that we were not able to pay Roaches for the second amount of work undertaken on the roof. She explained that Mr Deakin had kindly lent KWL the money to cover this…


Mr Potter stated that he felt the work done on the roof was unnecessary and KWL had wasted the money. This led to a very heated discussion…


Mrs Ingham raised concerns about the standard of work carried out by Tiger Scaffolding…


Mr Harrington asked if anything else needed to be done to the roof and if there had been any checks made to see if work was done to a satisfactory standard before money was paid out. He was keen to have it minuted that in fact KWL has no proof that the roof is sound…



Snoxell Survey 8th August 2011 commissioned by M Neville


“…The type of liquid applied treatment is a quick and cost effective repair to areas where water ingress has been a problem…


The longevity of this type of repair is limited and repair in traditional materials should be considered (A more robust repair would have been to renew the original lead lining and areas of the adjacent mansard slates)”



Secretary email to Robert Harrington 31st August 2011


“… from the very earliest problems occurring, every single contractor has told us that we need a new roof…”


J D Roach Builder 1st September 2011


…we did not carry out point 6 as worded on the estimate…


would have involved stripping off the existing slates which were significantly blotched over and patched up by others with many layers of bitumen and goodness knows what else many years previously…


This would have made the stripping of these slates a major job (and we clearly indicated in our estimate that this may indeed prove to be the case once scaffold access allowed closer inspection…


You will agree in light of the above FACTS we will not be receiving ANY invoices, reports, court orders nor anything of the like. Your gripe is with the property owners.



Email Jan Maclean Smith (Director) to Brigette Thomason/Morrison Secretary cc R Harrington and Pat Ingham


The roof remedial work was completed yesterday in very good time by the builder Mr Lawson:

&#8226 The dormer window surround outside Flat 15 was painted with sealant

&#8226 Part of the parapet above the awful leak in Flat 10 was resealed

&#8226 A small part of the parapet above flat 9 was resealed


And we had some heavy rain later in the evening and our window rained dry – so hopefully things will be fine now for the winter – not just for us but for flats 9 & 10 too - hurray!


I look forward to meeting with you both at the Committee Meeting at 5pm on 15th October to discuss the way forward regarding the roof as a whole and how we should proceed to inform everyone else in the building on ‘what next’ – including when the best time is for an AGM (which in my view needs to be when we as a committee are clear about what we want to do next – as we 3 discussed at the week end)…


(After query re Mike Neville’s issues) …I’m sure it was Flat 12 – Pat was directing operations …



Sollett Brothers (sub-contractor to JD Roach) 14th October 2011


Telephone conversation re work done on Kirbys confirmed roof in poor condition and Solletts had painted a light grey membrane on main roof. Documents sent verified this.


Mike Lawson Builder 15th January 2012 – email to Secretary


In an ideal world we would recommend that the roofs are stripped and re-covered using new slate or tile materials. However, the cost of this action to a roof area over 500m2 would be around £90 000.00 plus VAT (not quantified/costed at this point in time, however, a quote is being calculated as requested.


If funding at this level is not currently available then the only alternative will therefore be to undertake reactive and preventative maintenance, reactive elements will involve addressing the current roof leaks by applying further coats of the reinforced bitumen roof sealant in the areas where the leaks are currently occurring. The preventative elements of this work will be for the roofs to be externally inspected annually, ideally in the late summer/autumn period, prior to the oncoming winter months, in order to overhaul and deal with any further defects which have arisen over the preceding 12 month period.


We have dealt with these issues on many occasions and on many a roof as there is no other option once the bitumen coating has been applied.


This is not only our recommendations but also that of local building surveyors.

Secretary’s Report for AGM 23rd June 2012


…The result of which was a request for £100 from flat owners to pay for remedial work to be done on the balustrade outside Flat 17 and 10 and more work to the windows of Flat 15…


It is minuted that Flat 12 had had water ingress following the work done by Tony Roach to the balustrade in early 2011…


Mike Caffrey – Repair and Restoration (FMB member) 7th March 2014

Further to our conversation yesterday, I have had another brief look at the information and various reports you sent me. The most recent and most relevant is the August 2013 survey and, on the face of it, I doubt whether we would come to any significantly different conclusions to those that they arrive at. Ie, that the property needs to be completely re-roofed, the parapet gutters need to be stripped out, reformed and re-laid with a durable covering material (eg lead or stainless steel), and that the external render will need considerable attention in terms of both investigation and remediation.


In light of the above, if you would still like us to visit the site and carry out a visual survey , then our fee would be £495.00 + vat for a site visit and brief report of our findings. This would include a budget for the cost of the remedial works we considered to be necessary.

SBC Conservation Officer April 2014


The various documents you have sent indicate significant ongoing problems with the roof and Mr Carmichael and Mr Ingham certainly confirmed this with their explanation of past events at my site meeting.


Whilst I have not been able to read all the documentation I have not seen any reference to moisture meter readings being taken of the timbers within the actual roof voids and at my site visit I felt this was a matter which needed to be checked. The type of temporary coatings which have been used restrict air flow and through ventilation. With repeated leaks it is possible for raised moisture levels to result in various rots which could have serious effects on what could still be a sound roof construction.


Another issue which was unclear was the detailing and integrity of the gutters behind the parapet. A BHD report which Mr Carmichael had indicated the possibility of opening up an area to investigate the “sponginess” felt in the parapet gutter bottom. I felt this had some merit and also suggested investigating detailing and materials used in adjacent properties parapet gutters for three reasons. First, the distances between gutter outlets was much more than traditional lead gutters would have had without drips, second, it was by no means clear whether the coating used carried up behind the mansard slates for a sufficient height and third, the part exposed, part hidden nature of these gutters would lead to differential expansion on hot days and risk of hairline cracks being formed.


I left the meeting saying I needed to look at the roof from the East Cliff through binoculars and the same problems as are visible to the rear are present here. The repeated patching of the various coatings is not considered proper conservation practice and is potentially building up more significant and more expensive problems.


The suggestion of reroofing is sensible however this would need listed building consent and use of natural slates are recommended rather than concrete. Internal inspections with moisture meters to ascertain the extent of any timber replacement would be a prerequisite.


What was actually said at the AGM 2012 regarding the roof etc:


MN: We are dealing with known facts – one we’ve got a price for the roof and two we’ve been told it’s going to last five years


KP: This is what Pat would like to clarify


PI: I spoke to Mike and he said, now this is what he said, he’s also quoted this to Brigette: “Over the last three years he’s had quite a bit of work done on this back roof, repairing leaks, mostly to Kate’s flat (14) and mostly to Mr Greatorex’s flat (17). And he said if you get a leak now, the roof has been practically redone – when he put it all in it was new laths and everything, so the back of this roof has practically been redone by him since Tiger left it. He said the underfelting that Tiger put on was very bad stuff , he admits this right, so unfortunately, we can’t go back to Tiger’s work (5m). Now the back of this roof is sound.




PI: He said if we have a leak in two year’s time wouldn’t it be easier to spend £600 on a leak as to think about having a new roof done because as he says, the front of the building since … it’s right though what he’s saying – since the parapet’s been done nobody at the front of the building as got any trouble apart from what you (MN) ad and it was nothing to do with the parapet or the roof, but most of the Roaches’ work was done to the parapet – it wasn’t the roof, but it was only when Mr Deakin got some trouble with his windows that he brought this Andy Sollett onto the case and they was supposed to have been specialists from Guisborough. Right, now then, Mike Lawson, he said I can’t put a lifespan – it could go 10 years (6m), so where this figure of 2, 3, 5 years that’s banded around, I’d like, I really would like to know.


MN: Well Brigette?


BT: Same for me, yes.


BT: I did want to have a proper discussion about the roof when it came up in the agenda. I think I would prefer to put figures forward and then there’s a little bit of explanation about why you’ve done it and then with regard to the pot, can we discuss that when we discuss putting up maintenance fees?.


??: Coming back to the roof – 5 years – is that how long this present roof will last … or that’s how long a new roof will last


PI: No, well no


KP: No no no


BT: Present roof


PI: No - it’s sounder than that


??: Right


JM: But if we if we


??: You’ve got two hopes


PI: Yes … he said if we’re getting him back every month to do repairs and he says you’ve warranted a new roof.


JM: Got it. But if you just take like a helicopter view… and take a step back (7m), you could…we all know with a house that every 50 years or 20 years, whatever, you have to do something with the roof as it wears out – everything wears out…so at some point in the future we are going to need to review the roof of this building, we are going to have to do something with the roof as it wears out. The last time it was done I think was probably 1980


RH: No it wasn’t. I can say for definite it wasn’t. Mr Sollett reckoned it’s most likely the original roof, as did the conservation officer and the other thing that …I don’t know I’m just saying


PI: I’ve been going back looking through a lot of old books… when the Fawcetts took over it was 1993 wasn’t it? They were having a lot of trouble with this roof and we won our case, then they went bankrupt, so we were left with a dodgy roof and we were left with a court case and the costs were’nt we?


MN: We were left with the old roof, I think.


PI: Exactly. So it’s been done. Kirbys Whitby Limited has never really done the roof.


JM: So


RH: The original…the impression I was given is the original roof…this is what I gave a handout about, that somebody seemed to think I was trying to pass off as a photograph I’d taken.


KP: Just let it pass Robert


RH: I’m just saying I’ve got copies for people. It has been extensively Turnerised is the term. It’s overpainted with bitumen and what it does is it seals the moisture in and it creates a situation where you can end up with rot. Now I don’t know what the beams are like and so on, but the point about it is…the life of the roof… you can go on turnerising it forever more or less.


JM: yes, but if we take a helicopter view, OK and we’re responsible people we will get of course to some point, and no one can predict exactly when, where we’re going to need a new roof. Now it could be a hurricane scenario where we need a new roof next year


PI: Well it’s an insurance job


JM: Worst case scenario – well if we’re responsible, we build up a Sinking Fund so that when we have to redo the roof, we don’t have to go round and suddenly say to everybody each of the flats has got to find £8000 or each of the flats has to find lots of money because that’s a shock, so the idea is that we start to build a Sinking Fund and we have that there and it’s an interest paying account and it’s there so that we can use it if we need to pay for things like a new roof… in London that’s what we did – we were always building our sinking fund so that when stuff happened we had


RH: I’m sorry, but these days you have to disclose something like that if you’re selling a property (10.10)


BT: yes of course we will


KP: It’s no secret





PI: Can I just say something? I spoke to the insurance company and before, they said they wouldn’t have touched the roof because of its poor state. Now since Mike Lawson’s been up and we’ve ad the Tiger scaffolding up and everything, we would have good ground to claim a bulk sum of insurance (54.36) if it was done by storm damage and it’s only when we get torrential rain that we get the leaks, so I thought it was – it would be done on grounds of bad weather. I think before we start jumping to £1000,s of pounds, we should be lookin at the insurance, because we pay a bulk sum about – all this money out


MN: The excess is £1000 isn’t it


PI: I’d pay £1000 if I thought I was going to get £52000 from em


RH: With bitumen, the problem is that if you get a spell of hot weather – let me finish – you get a spell of hot weather, it blisters and the problem starts again. (55.25)


PI: Can I say something – it was the insurance companies that proposed that Mr Potter put the bitumen on in the first place


JI: We’d never purr any on


RH: The loss adjuster’s report, the loss adjuster’s report from 2006 – they basically weren’t willing to pay out because of all of that if you read through it, I’m not accusing anybody of anything


JI: It were purr on coz the tiles were flyin off. That’s why ee did it.


RH: I’m just giving you information


KP: The insurance company is happy with it now – its got the insurance. Now…. We are…we really should do…


BT: I don’t think we should rely on the insurance company paying for the roof






Work done by Lawson’s

Before AGM in 2012


25 November 2011



“For the repairs of leaks in the front gutter parapet outside the top left hand flat And was to the front of the building”

17 Jan 2012



“On close inspection the chimney stack was found to have some 20 holes and cracks that required attention, these were duly attended to.


The roof coating in this area was also inspected, at the base of the stack holes were found these were also attended to and more bitumen coatings applied. Some cracks in the render on the opposite side was also found and also attended to. The mortar flaunchings around the pot was also repaired.


11th June 2012



Re-Property repairs (roof and down pipe)


Job no 2: For the repair of the leak near hopper outside Flat 12, this was found to be on the outside of the lead running outlet, all repaired and now OK


Job no 3: For the repair of the roof leak above Flat 16. This was found to be old failed roofing felt. This was duly replaced and the roof tiles re-fitted.


13th July 2012



Re property repairs (front roof)


For the repair of the roof leak as was shown, this was on the front of the roof which has been bitumen coated in the past. We were unable to remove these slate so the bitumen coating was applied over the area of the leak so as to make sure of a water tight repair.


NB The bitumen we use is UV resistant and will not crack as the old has done (Applied to chimney stack January 2014 – inappropriate repair – already appears to be cracking by March 2014!)


7th January 2013



Re property repairs (roof)

For the repairs to the parapet and dorma windows above Flat 10

For the re-fitting of a roof slate outside in the parapet of Flat 14

7th January 2013 INSURANCE CLAIM (£3336.00 PAID by Aviva)


Flat 15


Re property repairs (roof)

All works done as per quote no 000355

Bedroom 1 – For the roof slate and Bitumen coating repairs above this area

Bedroom 2/bathroom same as bedroom 1

Living room, also same as bedroom 1

Flat 17


Living room – For the roof slate and bitumen coating repairs above this area

Rear bedroom, multiple tiles removed which are that of concrete Marley tiles, then the roofing under felt replaced and the roof tiles re-fitted so as to make good again


3rd June 2013



Re property repairs (roof)


Works done as quote 21/5/2013


For the repairs to under laying felt above Flat 17

Although the leading edge has been done we had to re-visit this leak and go further up the roof to repair another leak.

Once tiles removed 4 more holes in the under laying felt were found. These were duly re-felted so as to make good.


All roof tiles re-fitted



4th November 2013



Slate roof and bitumen coating repairs above the kitchen window of Flat 17

Slate roof and bitumen coating repairs above the living room window of Flat 15

Whilst on site small roof repairs were also made above the bedroom window also of Flat 15


Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law