Make room for the full facts

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IN STATING that “home buyers are being warned to steer clear of top-floor tenement flats amid fears that a lack of repairs has made ageing buildings structurally unsound”, the opening paragraph of last Sunday’s article on purchasing top-floor tenement flats was both inaccurate and sensationalist (News, 7 April).

At no time did I pinpoint traditional tenement buildings in Edinburgh as being “structurally unsound”. My comments were wholly confined to roofs and not to other fabrics (eg, walls and underpinnings).

My quotes were cherry-picked from a press release in which I simply warned potential buyers of top-floor tenement flats that they should ­secure an adequate report on the condition of the roof before agreeing to purchase. At no time did I suggest they “steer clear” of such properties.

The story ignored my emphasis on potential buyers seeking documentary evidence of co-operation among owners on repair and maintenance, in the light of the city council no longer carrying out statutory repairs. With owners now facing the prospect of agreeing repairs to roofs among themselves, I added that “this might prove difficult if an ­estimate for a job proves costly and only one top flat is suffering the practical consequences of water ingress, etc”.

I also highlighted for purchasers that relying on the Single Survey Report in the Home Report may not be enough as most pertaining to tenements restrict their comments to what is seen of the roof from the street. It is therefore prudent to get a separate roof report by a reputable roofing contractor if you are considering purchasing a tenement flat and particularly so if it is a top-floor flat.

Sandy Burnett, Partner, 
Murray Beith Murray