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.”