Disabled man forced to shuffle down stairs at Litmus Building: Living City’s statement in full

Residents have complained about facilities at the Litmus Building in Nottingham after a video showed a disabled man having to abandon his wheelchair to slide down the stairs because of broken lifts.

Living City, the company managing facilities at the apartment block on Huntingdon Street, issued a lengthy statement on the problems.

It is reproduced here in full.

“The lift issues at the Litmus Building are serious and cannot be resolved by routine repair and maintenance. We have taken professional advice from Chartered Building Surveyors and qualified lift specialists and have formulated a refurbishment proposal that delivers fully operational passenger facilities; these facilities will then be in an operational condition to qualify for an ongoing fully comprehensive service contract to maintain the lifts in the future. Because of the estimated project cost of the lift refurbishment , we were obliged to follow a prescribed legal process in respect of consultation with the apartment owners. This obligatory and  statutory ‘Section 20 Consultation’ process was commenced with all the leaseholders (apartment owners) of the building in June, once the full details of the proposed lift refurbishment project were agreed.

“The consultation was in its compulsory second stage in October when, unfortunately, the third and final lift failed at the building.

“At this point, we sought legal advice in respect of applying for dispensation to the First Tier Tribunal; this was agreed by the solicitors and we immediately placed the order for the parts required to begin the repairs. The decision was made to focus on one lift to begin with, in order to get one safely up and running while we began work on the other two, and this work began on Monday. Unfortunately, and as we warned residents might happen, further faults were found with the lift and additional specialist sub-contractors are required to attend, meaning the work to the lift will not be completed on Friday as hoped.

“Throughout the legal consultation process and since we dispensed with it and began the schedule of works, we have communicated all the information available to the owners of the apartments. We have also taken the time to provide this information to the resident sub-tenants, who would not have otherwise been informed, through our dedicated web portal. Daily updates have been posted and responses provided in return to all resident queries, both through the web portal and reported by telephone to our head office staff. We also provide a 24-hour emergency assistance line to which residents can report any out of hours emergencies, including those related to the lifts.

“We have also supplied extra staff to assist residents with carrying heavy belongings up and down the stairs, where possible. We encourage all residents to report issues directly to Livingcity in the first instance, to allow us the opportunity to deal with them.

“We understand that the situation with the lifts at the building is distressing to its residents, but each step that we have taken has been in accordance with the legal requirement in a situation such as this and to ensure a lasting and best value solution is delivered to the apartment owners and their sub-tenants.”

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