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The case, involving affordable housing company Triathlon Homes and current owner Get Living, concluded in a week-long hearing at the first-tier tribunal. The residents' group criticises the lack of attention to the leaseholders' suffering during the proceedings.
A recent dispute over funding for fire safety remediation work in London's Olympic Village has left 200 leaseholders in East Village, now known as East Village, unable to sell their shared ownership properties since September 2020. The week-long hearing at the first-tier tribunal (FTT) concluded on Friday, addressing the action brought by affordable housing company Triathlon Homes against Get Living, the current owner of the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Triathlon manages 1,379 affordable homes on the site and seeks to hold the build-to-rent company responsible for funding fire safety fixes on five apartment buildings, amounting to £16m. However, Get Living claims it has already secured £24.5m from the government's Building Safety Fund (BSF) to cover both its and Triathlon's share of the works. The case could set a precedent for other situations where developers or freeholders resist providing funding.
The Olympic Park Homes Action Group, representing affected leaseholders, expressed dissatisfaction with the tribunal, emphasising the lack of attention to the ongoing suffering of leaseholders due to widespread fire safety failures in the UK's construction industry.
The dispute revolves around the responsibility for covering the remediation costs in five apartment buildings in plot N26 of Olympic Park. Get Living argues that it has secured public funds and is actively pursuing the original contractor, Galliford Try, for reimbursement. However, Triathlon insists that Get Living should accept responsibility.
During the hearing, arguments were presented over whether taxpayers' money should be used by Get Living to cover the repair bill. Get Living's representative stated that leaseholders and Triathlon are not required to pay for the remediation works, which are funded, underway, and on target.
The case delves into the ownership structure of Get Living, which became a real estate investment trust in 2018. Triathlon contends that Get Living's financial health makes it unjust to treat public funding as the primary source for remediation costs. The decision, expected in early 2024, could have implications for other cases involving complex corporate structures under the Building Safety Act. The Olympic Park Homes Action Group characterises the dispute as a tale of corporate greed, with responsible parties seemingly maximising shareholder returns while shifting the cost onto taxpayers.
In July, it was reported that Get Living had set aside £14.3m for East Village Management Limited (EVML) for the remediation work in question. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of responsibility in fire safety disputes within the construction industry.
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30 November 2023
05 September 2023