Horrified NHS worker living in flats with dangerous cladding hit with £58,000 bill
Residents in Brindley House, Birmingham, were sent bills for the work
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A devastated flat owner in a block with dangerous cladding has told of her horror after opening a service bill demanding £58,000.
NHS worker Hana Imaan, 40, was left reeling – as were fellow neighbours with bills as high as £71,000.
Hana, who lives in a two-bed apartment with husband Jamil, 40, and son Muhammad, eight, faces paying £52,000 for cladding repairs alone.
She said: “It’s an impossible situation. There have been categorical failings of developers, builders, building controls and regulation – and government bodies as well. None of us leaseholders should have to pay the price for that.”
Hana’s Birmingham flat is among 182 in Brindley House, a 1960s tower renovated in 2008 by Balfour Beatty.
Hana Imaan said she has been left in an 'impossible situation'
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Bills are based on flat size and repairs – highlighted in the wake of the Grenfell fire tragedy in 2017 – will cost £10million.
Bills were sent out by a residents group running the building as directors under a Right To Manage scheme.
Sign writer Michelle Henry, 40, is one of six directors and faces paying £47,000 for repairs to her flat – bought in 2012 for £120,000.
She said: “We are having to give everyone a bill warning them of their share of the costs should the Government not step forward.
“We don’t know if we will have to pay all of it or none. My biggest fear is that we will get some help but not the full amount.
“It’s a ridiculous situation – a nightmare we can’t escape from without walking away.”
Tom Brothewell said his future depends on getting out of this 'disastrous situation'
(Image: Tom Brothwell)
Sign writer Michelle Henry, 40, faces paying £47,000 for her flat
Financial services worker Tom Brothwell, 39, bought his £140,000 flat three months before 72 people died in Grenfell, north-west London. But it is worthless if lenders refuse mortgages.
He said: “Homeowners are just stuck. My financial future, my life, depends on getting out of this disastrous situation. I live in a flat valued at zero.”
Retired accountant Katie Illingworth, 61, faces a £71,000 bill on her home – plus another £80,000 for three flats bought as pension investments.
She said: “It’s all gone so badly wrong. My life is on hold.”
One resident is even going through bankruptcy after being left broke by the cost of patrols and insurance.
Brindley House in Newhall Street, Birmingham
Katie Illingworth faces £151,000 in charges on her home and three flats bought as investments
Although 195ft-high Brindley does not have the same cladding as Grenfell, it is wrapped in a potentially lethal laminate. Nationwide, leaseholders are already paying £2.2billion a year for stop-gap safety measures.
A £1.6billion Building Safety Fund has been set up to cover repairs at 3,000 high-rises. But MPs fear up to £15billion could be needed.
And if the fund runs short the burden could fall on owners. UK Cladding Action Group says 23 per cent of leaseholders affected have felt suicidal or had a desire to self-harm.
Co-founder Ritu Saha said: “Brindley House is the first case we have publicly heard of where the residents have received these horrific bills.”
Right to Manage lets leaseholders run their property
An industry source said: “It is normally done so they can make sure the electricity’s working or if the boilers break. Not for £10million cladding projects.”
A housing ministry spokesman said: “We understand people feel worried. Our priority is to remove unsafe materials as quickly as possible, backed by £1.6billion funding.”