11 – 17 Kirk Wynd & 2 Manor St is one of the ‘priority projects’ of the THI. The fourteen owners of this property agreed to apply for the grant which was available to carry out essential repairs to their property. The roof, which is the most inaccessible part of any building, was found to need a huge amount of repairs to bring it up to a good standard.

Although attempts had been made to look after this building over the years, it was showing clear signs that a more major intervention was required. Parts of the roof were missing slates and had been patched over with felt, flat roofs had been leaking into the flats below, water has been coming in through failed render at the chimneys and gable. The rainwater downpipes at the front of the building had been leaking and causing staining problems as well as damp issues. At the shopfronts, the lead flashing above the cornice was found to be barely fixed to the building and in danger of coming loose and falling into the street.

With the aid of the THI grant, the roof and the structural timbers have been comprehensively repaired and renewed. Slated pitches have been stripped and re-slated, leadwork has been renewed, stonework repaired and re-pointed, asphalt drying areas re-asphalted, rainwater drainage systems repaired and made to work properly again.

One of the major challenges in looking after this type of property is the sheer number of owners who are responsible for its maintenance and bringing them together to make decisions. Sometimes it seems impossible to find out who actually owns a property and responsible for paying their share of the repairs cost.

If a factor has been appointed, they can help the owners to make decisions on building repairs and track down missing owners. Once a majority decision has been taken, the general rule is that the others must also pay their share of the repairs costs too. This can be legally enforced through the courts.

For more information and guidance on how to carry out shared repairs, Shelter have an excellent website which sets out legal rights and responsibilities: http://bit.ly/1iUxtS1