WTF Sh*t's F*cked Up and Bullsh*t - a "Who Cares" thread for news

Kaimi Kyomoon

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Tigger

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Tower block residents in london are facing a choice, pay £70,000 each or be made homeless. The payments are for removing the highly flammable cladding that's been applied to the towers in which they live. After it was revealed that Grenfell tower had basically been wrapped in firelighters reports showed that it was only 1 of almost 500 blocks covered in the highly flammable cladding that killed so many people.

The government has made some funds available to remove the cladding from social housing blocks effected but the cost of the work on privately owned blocks is being pushed onto the residents rather than the owners. It looks like the cost is being added to the service charge but no one can afford to pay it.
The consequence of not paying could be eviction. The leaseholders are not even able to sell their flats as, being wrapped in illegal flammable cladding, they are not mortgageable.

Tower block residents 'ill with stress' over combustible cladding
 
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Tower block residents in london are facing a choice, pay £70,000 each or be made homeless. The payments are for removing the highly flammable cladding that's been applied to the towers in which they live. After it was revealed that Grenfell tower had basically been wrapped in firelighters reports showed that it was only 1 of almost 500 blocks covered in the highly flammable cladding that killed so many people.


Tower block residents 'ill with stress' over combustible cladding
If no one can afford to pay it what is the government going to do? Raze the buildings?
 
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Dakota Tebaldi

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This is why you should never do bullet points. I think.
Yeah like from this list genuinely can't tell if the person who made it supports or opposes Brexit.

ETA: On the other hand there's this:


But I suspect it wasn't made by a Yellow Vest-er....
 
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Tigger

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If no one can afford to pay it what is the government going to do? Raze the buildings?
In the UK, there are two kinds of ownership for a property: Freehold and Leasehold. Freehold is simple, you own the land and the building. Leasehold is usually for flats/apartments but can sometimes be for other types of property. A leaseholder owns a lease entitling them to live in the property for X number of years (100 years is common, but 1000 years crops up sometimes). So you can own a 100 year lease, live there 10 years and sell a lease with 90 years left to run when you move out. But there are certain obligations to a leasehold, like paying a fee to the freeholder for maintenance on the building. I think if you continually fail to pay the maintenance fee you would eventually lose your lease, which would allow the freeholder to sell a new lease on that flat.

So if the residents can't pay, they will eventually be forced out of the tower block, the freeholder can do the work and sell the leases again for £300,000 a pop. That figure being the estimated value of the flats stated in the article.

As the property is privately owned, it looks like there is nothing the government can do about it - other than offer to cover the costs, which they wont do.
 

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Brenda Archer

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If no one can afford to pay it what is the government going to do? Raze the buildings?
Do they have the makings of what would here be a class-action lawsuit? How can the residents be charged for a decision they didn't make?
 

Tigger

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Do they have the makings of what would here be a class-action lawsuit? How can the tenants be charged for a decision they didn't make?
In general maintenance charges are for the cost of maintaining the building - significant one off costs would be distributed around all of the tenants, for example if the roof needed replacing. This comes into the same kind of category.

In this particular case the freeholders didn't put the cladding on, they bought the freehold from the original owners some time after the cladding had been added. Their complaint is that they don't make enough profit from owning the building to cover the cost. Now myself, I say business is a risk and sometimes it doesn't work out. The fact you run a business doesn't entitle you to profit and if they had taken a closer look at what they were buying they could have questioned whether buying a highly flammable building could cause issues later.
 

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I'm curious, but why hasn't the government put the people who own and built the buildings on trial for murder? At very least, they, or the people leasing the buildings should be able to sue them for having illegal flammable cladding to begin with?
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I'm curious, but why hasn't the government put the people who own and built the buildings on trial for murder? At very least, they, or the people leasing the buildings should be able to sue them for having illegal flammable cladding to begin with?
In the UK, to prove murder the prosecution needs to make the jury sure that the defendant intended to kill, or at least to cause really serious harm to, the victim, so that's a non-starter in this case.

Corporate manslaughter would be an issue if the cladding were, in fact, illegal at the time it was applied, but the problem, at least as I understand it, is that it was in compliance with all the applicable fire safety regulations. That's the problem -- everyone was acting in good faith when the necessary fire-safety certification was issued.
 

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In general maintenance charges are for the cost of maintaining the building - significant one off costs would be distributed around all of the tenants, for example if the roof needed replacing. This comes into the same kind of category.

In this particular case the freeholders didn't put the cladding on, they bought the freehold from the original owners some time after the cladding had been added. Their complaint is that they don't make enough profit from owning the building to cover the cost. Now myself, I say business is a risk and sometimes it doesn't work out. The fact you run a business doesn't entitle you to profit and if they had taken a closer look at what they were buying they could have questioned whether buying a highly flammable building could cause issues later.
Yes, I will never understand this idea that businesses must never face a setback and that they must always pass the buck onto the consumer (in this case, tenant). God forbid they have to take a bite out of their profits. We give them way more leeway than an average person in the form of taxpaying (or lack of it), bankruptcy proceedings, breaks from communities just to retain them and many other perks that we certainly do not receive as ordinary people. It's as if they always expect to constantly be making a larger and larger profit regardless of how well they run their business and regardless of ordinary ups and downs in the cycle of the business; or in this case unforeseen events; things that an average consumer always takes a hit on. They always expect a subsidy of one sort or another. Certainly, laws have aided them in this belief.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Now myself, I say business is a risk and sometimes it doesn't work out. The fact you run a business doesn't entitle you to profit and if they had taken a closer look at what they were buying they could have questioned whether buying a highly flammable building could cause issues later.
Couldn't the same be said, though, of the leaseholders, who signed the leases that make them responsible for replacing the cladding?