We live in firetrap tower block & were hit with £200k service charge despite owner not making repairs – it's outrageous | The Sun

RESIDENTS in a firetrap tower block were hit with a £200,000 service charge despite the owner failing to make repairs. 

Flat owners and tenants complained that they should not be made to pay extra just for their 14-storey building to be safe.

Combustible cladding and flammable insulation was found at Vista Tower in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, following checks after the Grenfell fire.

A service charge of up to £208,000 has been demanded from residents in the 73 flats despite the £15million repairs still yet to be started. 

Sophie Bichener, 30, who owns a two-bed flat, told the Mirror: “We need the building to be safe and we shouldn’t be the ones paying for it.”

Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke added: “The lives of over 100 people living in Vista Tower have been put on hold for over two years whilst they wait for Grey GR to remediate unsafe cladding.”


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Government legal action has now been brought against freehold owner Grey GR Partnership Ltd, which is the first to be targeted by a taskforce that goes after companies which "repeatedly refuse to fix buildings".

It is among 23 companies being probed.

The number of residents who have paid the service charge is unknown.

Grey GR said it was "surprised and disappointed" to be notified of the legal action.

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It added: "The safety of residents in their homes has been and remains an utmost priority."

It is the first firm targeted by a taskforce that goes after those who “repeatedly refuse to fix buildings”. Another 22 are being probed.

It is not known how many leasehold residents have paid the huge service charges. Grey GR, which is ultimately owned by the £37bn rail pension fund Railpen, said it was “surprised and disappointed” to receive a 21-day notice of intended legal action.

It added: “The safety of residents in their homes has been and remains an utmost priority.”

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Residents can only withhold payment of a service charge without breaking their contract in limited circumstances.

It can only be if the demand for payment fails to have attach a prescribed summary of rights and obligations, or if it fails to contain the landlord's name and address.

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