Wednesday, 6 November 2019

High rise leaseholders warned about Advice Notice 14 impact on selling their home

Letter from a Wembley Matters Reader
Dear Martin,

Are you aware of 'Advice Notice 14' resulting from the Grenfell inquiry. It covers owners of all types of homes across Brent but specifically for leaseholders living in high rises.
Until they have a safety certificate issued by the council, all homes are valued at £0.

The council have published a tender (see below) for the work that checks the composition of all wall material in high rises for fire safety.  Once each building is passed as safe, then a certificate is issued but it is likely to take several months, if not years to pass every home across Brent.

It affects 500,000 owners across the whole of England and hardly any of them are aware of it.

They only find out if they try to sell their property, as no buyer can get a mortgage unless the home they are buying has a current safety certificate, covering all the flats within each block.
The problem in Brent and everywhere else is that there are no fully trained inspectors.  So the council tender is trying to find a company to do the work and then pass the buildings by issuing 'a certificate of safety' saying the wall material does not have any Combustible material within it. This material was often used as packing around the steel embedded in the concrete in buildings erected in the 1960's.

But most of the suspect buildings have been built recently and will have to be checked for cladding that is combustible.

I think this is the biggest story to come out of Grenfell so far and hardly anyone in the country is aware of it.

An article in the Guardian on Saturday November 2nd LINK covered the plight of what it called 'mortgage prisoners':

They have all become caught up in the confusion over cladding on tower blocks – specifically, whether or not buildings meet new fire safety standards introduced following the Grenfell disaster, how much it will cost to put any problems right, and who will ultimately foot the bill.

All of this is feeding through to thousands living in “high-rise” (defined as more than 18 metres) apartment blocks, as well as many living in smaller blocks, because property valuers are taking the view that unless they have all the facts at their fingertips – for example, is there any chance the cost might fall on the leaseholder? – they can’t put a valuation on the property. That means these owners can’t sell up or switch to a cheaper mortgage.

This is the decision notice published by Brent Council on October 31st 

This decision seeks approval for the appointment of a building consultancy to complete a data collection exercise to identify external wall materials and insulation used on high rise residential buildings over 18 metres in height within the London Borough of Brent under Contract Standing Orders 88 & 89.


To approve:
(1)      Inviting tenders under a mini competition via the NHS SBS Construction Consultancy Services 2 Framework on the basis of the identified pre-tender considerations.
(2)      Officers evaluating the tenders on the basis of the identified evaluation criteria.

Reasons for the decision:

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is requesting that Brent Council complete a data collection exercise to identify external wall materials and insulation on all high rise residential buildings over 18 metres.  The Council is therefore seeking suppliers to submit a proposal for carrying out the requirement.

Alternative options considered:

The procurement options for this requirement were either an OJEU procurement or a mini-competition from a framework.  Given the estimated value of the procurement and limited time available to procure a contract in order to commence in December 2019 it was considered that the NHS SBS Framework offered the most appropriate mechanism to procure.

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:

Wards Affected: (All Wards)

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