Nobel House FAQs

FAQs UPDATE 21st October 2020

We are aware that information has been shared that includes an update on the inspection that took place in July, of the exterior wall system at Nobel House, which has understandably raised further questions, please find below additional FAQs:

Q: I’ve heard that the initial report received means that lenders will now be in a position to approve new mortgages on Nobel House, is that the case?

A: We understand that this is not the case, but we are not qualified or regulated to give financial advice. We therefore recommend that you discuss with your own lender or financial adviser what lending options might be available.

Q: Does the new information supplied mean that we know what remedial work is required, how long it is going to take, how much it is going to cost and who is going to pay for it?

A: Unfortunately, no. Y&Y Management have confirmed that they have started the process of exploring the answers to these questions by seeking further advice from the external wall system expert that undertook this initial assessment. 

MANAGEMENT OF NOBEL HOUSE

Q: Who owns Nobel House?

A: The freehold for Nobel House is owned by Avon Ground Rents Ltd, Raven Housing Trust was granted a head lease for each of the flats it purchased, which then enabled us to grant sub-leases to our shared owners. This therefore means that Raven are also a leaseholder.

Q: Who is responsible for property management at Nobel House?

A: Y&Y Management has been appointed by Avon Ground Rents Ltd as managing agents for Nobel House, their responsibilities include:

  • Collection of service charge
  • Management of contractors
  • Compliance with relevant company and property law
  • Management of on-site staff
  • Preparation of budgets, financial forecasts and year-end accounts
  • Handling solicitors’ enquiries on the sale of individual properties
  • Engaging and management of maintenance contracts and repairs
  • Administration of insurance and communal claims
  • Compliance with health and safety legislation
  • Attending meetings
  • Regular property visits and inspections.

Q: Who do I contact at Y&Y Management if I have a query?

A: Aaron Bloom is Nobel House’s Property Manager. You can contact him by email at aaron@yymanagement.co.uk but please copy Raven in to any emails you send using the email address: homeownership@ravenht.org

Q: Who are 4QM?

A: Raven own a proportion of the homes at Nobel House. The properties that aren’t owned by Raven are represented by a Residents’ Management Company called, 4 Queensway Management (4QM).  We often work together in order to maintain the smooth running of the building. You may already know some of their current officers, details can be found here.  

MORTGAGE DIFFICULTIES

Q: I’ve heard that there may be a problem at the moment if I want to sell my flat at Nobel House, is that true?

A: Yes, some of you may have experienced or be aware of issues with mortgages. Lenders now require a building owner to produce an additional certificate (EWS1). The EWS1 certification process records in a consistent way external wall systems (cladding) on residential apartment buildings where the highest floor is 18m or more above ground level or where specific concerns exist. These are completed by a Chartered Fire Engineer.  We understand that Y&Y Management are in the process of trying to obtain this certificate on behalf of the building owner of Nobel House.  

Q: Why are EWS1 certificates required?

A: The Grenfell Tower fire has led to uncertainty around which buildings are safe.  A significant section of the housing market is being put on hold as mortgage lenders are nervous about lending people money against some buildings, until they have been tested for fire safety. 

Q: How long will this take?

A: We have asked Y&Y Management to give an indication of the timescales are but we do understand that this is very difficult. There are a limited number of qualified inspectors across the country that are working through thousands of requests. The inspection that is currently underway we know can be time-consuming and qualified inspectors are currently working through a significant backlog.

Q: Will this affect me if I want to re-mortgage or buy more shares in my home?

A: Yes, if you need to arrange a new mortgage on your home you will also be affected.

Q: What do I do if I can’t afford to live here and can’t sell either whilst this is being sorted out?

A: If as a result of the uncertainty currently at Nobel House you are worried about the financial implications you may face, please get in touch with us at homeownership@ravenht.org so that we can discuss your options and offer support through our money advice service, Moneywise.  Raven’s Moneywise service helps residents to find ways to maximise their income and reduce their expenditure.

Q. What are Raven doing to help?

A: We understand this situation is incredibly frustrating for all leaseholders. All across the country Housing Associations urgently want the problem to be resolved.  As well as directly affecting leaseholders, this is also impacting on housing associations’ ability buy and sell affordable housing to people in need.  

We are in regular contact with Y&Y Management.  We will of course continue to maintain a dialogue with them and our shared owners at Nobel House until this is satisfactorily resolved.

In the meantime, as a sector, Housing Associations are asking Government to work with mortgage lenders to find an urgent solution that will allow the housing market to operate normally during this period of uncertainty.  

Q: How often will you be updating me?

A: For the latest updates on Nobel House please visit our homeowners information page on here, which we will update with any new information as we receive it.

FIRE SAFETY

Q: Does this mean there is something wrong with Nobel House that means there is a greater risk of a fire that means it isn’t safe?

A: While we await the findings of the EWS Surveyor we have been supporting Y&Y to understand if any immediate action is required. We asked our fire safety consultant, Derek Andrews of Delco Safety who completed last Fire Risk Assessment for Y&Y, to advise on best practise and how to ensure the safety of all residents.

His response is as follows:

“Initially, having taken into account the reasonable standard of internal compartmentation evident during our last visit, the multiple means of escape provided from the common areas and the fire equipment in place (including smoke ventilation etc), I would not considered it to be necessary to make significant immediate changes whilst awaiting the test results for the external walling materials.  However, it would be advisable that the frequency of routine fire safety inspections at the property are increased whilst awaiting the results (I would suggest a minimum of weekly inspections  - in conjunction with weekly fire alarm testing and smoke vent activation tests would be appropriate).”

Following his advice weekly fire safety inspections will start week commencing 13th October 2020.

The probability of a fire occurring at Nobel House has not increased, and the block has many differences from the construction of Grenfell Tower.  However, the landscape has changed in the aftermath of the disaster and all owners of buildings over 18m high are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of the buildings that they own.

Q: Who is responsible for fire safety at Nobel House?

A: As part of Y&Y Management’s responsibilities for compliance with health and safety they are responsible for fire safety at Nobel House

Q: What fire safety checks are in place?

A: Y&Y Management are required to arrange for a Fire Risk Assessment at Nobel House which is normally completed each year in the Autumn

Q: Is there anything I can do to stay safe in my home?

A: Please visit our website here to view our latest fire safety advice which also includes a link to more fire safety information on London Fire Brigade’s website.