Leaseholders in a “rotting” Bradford apartment block say they will bid to take over the running of the building if problems with the existing managers cannot be resolved.
Members of the Gatehaus Owners Association (GOA), who own or lease flats in the £22 million Little Germany development, are considering a ‘right to manage’ proposal to take over responsibility from the property’s managing agents, Braemar Estates, whose directors paid a visit to the Leeds Road apartments yesterday.
As exclusively reported in yesterday’s Telegraph & Argus, GOA members had contacted Braemar Estates to say they were not satisfied with the way the Gatehaus was being managed, highlighting health and safety issues and a general state of disrepair within the building.
This claim was disputed by the firm, which said the building had inherent construction problems and a “chronic service charge deficit”.
But Jamil Ashraf, a spokesman for the GOA, said: “It is their responsibility to chase any outstanding service charges, but we don’t believe that to be case for our members. We have asked for this information so we can chase up any of our members who are in arrears and help the process along.
“After nearly two years of frustration, it is difficult to offer support when you don’t see anything being done and see the building deteriorate even further. These problems need to be resolved, and this work needs to be done.”
Mr Ashraf said GOA members were looking at the right-to-manage process and become responsible for making management decisions.
In response, Braemar Estates managing director Neil Roberts, said: “We believe that they may well face the same challenges of prioritising repairs, arranging contracts and securing sufficient funding from all leaseholders.
“We have sympathy with their frustrations over the general issues currently affecting the Gatehaus and are working to remedy these problems as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Roberts added that the development had been £149,000 in service charge arrears in mid-2012, with £92,000 owed to suppliers. After pursuing the outstanding funds, Braemar Estates said it has now reduced these arrears to £84,000, with £14,000 owed to suppliers.
The company also said that structural problems in the building’s forecourt, which it says is responsible for the poor conditions of the property below ground level, will be completed in the “next few months”.
The values of flats in the building, which was hailed as one of Bradford’s flagship regeneration projects, are said to have dropped by half.