Notice has been served on the managing agent at Arlington House tower block in Margate.
Block landlord Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd -part of the Freshwater Group- has given agent Trinity Estates notice to quit on October 31.
The move follows problems including a court case dispute with flat holder John Moss over withheld service charges. Mr Moss clinched a victory when the landlord was ordered to pay back £105,641.90 to all of the block’s lessees and the serving of an enforcement notice by the fire service for fifteen fire safety failures.
Kent Fire and Rescue Authority may bring forward a prosecution if the failures are not remedied by October 8.
In a letter seen by The Isle of Thanet News, Metropolitan Property Realizations say: “We are aware of the issues concerning Trinity Estates and their management of Arlington House. We had a meeting with them recently to try and get these issues resolved and see an improvement in their Management of the building.
“Unfortunately this does not seem to be happening and, as a result, we have served them with notice to terminate their appointment.”
The notice expires on October 31 with Metropolitan saying they are in the process of appointing new agents from November 1 who will be “relatively local to Margate.”
In separate documentation Metropolitan says it will instruct for works to proceed on the fire safety measures, with just under a month to go before the deadline issued by the fire service.
In June The Isle of Thanet News listed the 15 fire safety failures. Residents at Arlington had repeatedly tackled Trinity about getting the works completed.
One email sent from the Arlington House residents association to Trinity Estates – seen by The Isle of Thanet News – asked: “Why has Trinity failed to adjust fire doors, secure fire extinguishers, fire stop redundant hosereel pipes, affix S&F warning signs to electrical riser cupboards, repair and seal damaged surrounds to flat doors, display keep fire door closed signs, sign lifts not to be used in event of fire, ensure smoke ventilation windows in lift lobbies and fire escape stairwells can be opened and closed, keep on-site records of lightning conductor and electrical tests, PAT test equipment and keep on-site evidence and ensure that flammable materials are kept away from sources of ignition – all as part of normal site maintenance and professional property management?”
Faults in the alarm system had resulted in Kent Fire & Rescue Service attending the premises on 13 separate occasions between July 2018 and March 2019.
In June Simon Pengelly, chair of Arlington House Resident and Leaseholder Association, said: “A Notice issued by the fire brigade in August last year and a further notice issued in April this year include repairs that need to be carried out which are relatively minor but have not been carried out.
“I must stress that Arlington House is not another Grenfell tragedy waiting to happen – the building is very fire-resistant, we do not have any cladding and we have two fire escapes.
“However, we have already paid for works to be carried out to doors and service ducts in 2017 and are now expected to pay again. There is a maintenance contract for the fire alarm system yet faults remain despite repeated complaints to Trinity.”
Margate ward councillor and Arlington resident Rob Yates said news of the contract termination was “a relief.”
He said: “As a resident of Arlington House and as the ward councillor I am relieved that the incompetent Trinity Estates are being removed from the day to day management of the block.
“Individual residents, the resident’s association and Thanet District Council have highlighted their concerns to the landlord and they have finally seen the light and a new property management company will be in place from November 1.
“I would like to personally thank Arlington resident John Moss for taking Trinity to task at a First Tier Property Tribunal and highlighting Trinity Estate’s incompetence in front of a Judge. It goes to show that some of these property companies are simply not fit for purpose so keep an eye out, and don’t be afraid to challenge them.”
Read here: The 15 fire safety failures at Margate’s Arlington House that led to two enforcement notices being served
Re-home all the residents and pull the eyesore down and build a new modern block of flats that do not stand out like a sore thumb!
It just needs modernizing bring it up back to scratch a coat of paint on the outside
Mr Eastland – please explain where the money comes from to achieve your suggestion.
106 of the flats are privately owned and the landlord owns the other 36. You are looking at £15m-£20m to buy everybody out before you start to demolish and rebuild.
Alternatively, where are you going to rehome 142 families whilst you rebuild them a nice new block of flats at no cost to themselves ?
Not everybody thinks it is an eyesore,just as not everybody thinks the Turner is one. I don’t like mock-Georgian style houses but that doesn’t mean I think they should all be demolished.
It’s an eyesore. You just never get it, Marva.
I wonder what (the other) Andrew has against one or two of the other posters on this thread?
If you got a useful contribution to make, then make it. Avoid ad hominem remarks, or people will just think you’re a troll.
There is nothing to “get” when it is a matter of personal preference regarding architectural styles. In this case, some people admire a particular building and others don’t.
I wonder Mr Eastland if you have ever been inside Arlington House? Despite what you think of the exterior, the flats themselves are great, comfortable, spacious, best views in Margate and every year becoming more and more desirable as evidenced by their price increases. Personally I would not want to be rehoused in an ugly modern rabbit-hutch flat. Now the managing agents are going, things can only get better!
Great news but who will take over?
I love the building and it just needs a good clean!
Congratulations to all those lessees who have finally brought Trinity Estates to book for mismanagement, financial irregularities, longstanding defects in health and safety measures, failings in fire precautions and ongoing building maintenance problems.
The recent FTT found that Trinity Estates had overcharged lessees more than £100000.
It was only last week after an instruction from Freshwater, the head lease holder telling Trinity Estates to repay lessees the overcharged payments, that this was agreed. Up until this point Trinity continued to place obstacles in the way of making the repayments and denied liability.
Trinity Estates should be subject to independent forensic scrutiny as Arlington House is only one of a large number of chronically mismanaged accommodation projects that this company manages.
However one has to ask the question why has TDC over many years ignored the pleas of lessees who sought their help in dealing with this rogue management company?
Why did they allow the building to deteriorate and why did they not act when failings in fire health safety and building maintenance issues were brought to the attention of the Chief Executive, Head of Assets and the Director of Housing earlier this year. TDC continued to look the other way claiming they were powerless to act. They chose to act when KFRS warned that an Enforcement Notice would be issued and then contacted Freshwater. By then failings had been evident for many years, going back more than five years. This shows a total lack of empathy and respect for its residents.
Even our elected officials of all political persuasions failed to act over many years to safeguard the rights of its local residents at Arlington House. As recently as this year elected councillors of both main parties were made aware or the problems but did nothing. It is shocking that this culture of collusion and inertia is so endemic in the politics of Thanet.
TDC couldn’t get rid of it fast enough after the storm in 87. They also don’t make too much of a fuss as, if the fire service went over the councils housing stock with the same rigour the list would be far greater than that found at Arlington.
Just look at the recent fiasco’s with East Kent Housing.
Needs demolishing. Ruins Margate end of. Anyone that thinks differently needs to give their head a wobble.
Gary – your head is the one that needs a wobble – clearly your brain is not engaged with your fingers before you type such nonsense.
As I said before, who is going to pay for granting such a suggestion ?
Perhaps you could give your pockets a wobble and see if £25m drops out so you can buy up everybody’s flats and then pay for the demolition . . .
you reported back in 2017 that arrowgrass were interested in buying the building
over my dead body!
Offshore leaks company HF FUND SERVICES Ltd is arrowgrass
Ms Hooper – as you are not the head leaseholder of the Arlington site, I fail to see how your corpse could possibly have any relevance to the commercial sale of land and property between two companies.
oh and I hope that bit of litter got picked up and not left