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Victory for landlord leaseholders in landmark case

Vista Tower Stevenage

Leaseholders with flats in Stevenage’s Vista Tower have won their battle against freeholder Grey GR, forcing it to fix serious building safety issues.

The case - the government’s first legal action brought under powers introduced through the Building Safety Act – gives residents and landlords assurance that their homes will be made safe without further delay, following delays in fixing multiple serious fire safety issues, first identified in the building in 2019.

Grey GR started work on Vista Tower in January 2024 and a Remediation Order will provide an exact date by which time the work must be completed, or the firm could face sanctions.

Fire regulations

The Comet reports that the building was converted from offices to flats in 2016, but the conversion breached fire regulations, an inspection found. Leaseholders were handed bills asking them to pay a service charge of up to £208,000.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove says it’s hugely disappointing that Railpen - the ultimate owner of Grey GR and which manages £34 billion in ‘assets’ - has kept leaseholders in limbo.

Internal works

A Grey GR spokesman says: “We completed internal works throughout the building during 2023, and extensive remedial work will begin to the external façade in the next few weeks. A lead contractor has been appointed and site set-up commenced [earlier this month], with a provisional completion date of autumn 2025.”

The government is also seeking remediation orders on a further five Grey GR buildings that have or will be going to trial over the next year. This includes The Chocolate Box in Bournemouth where Grey GR has now started remediation works.

* The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill returns to the House of Lords for report on 5th June when peers will get another opportunity to make amendments. At its last reading, they were almost unanimous in their belief that it didn’t go far enough to protect leaseholders.


Leasehold reform
Cladding scandal
Building safety