Divorcing barrister couple blow £100,000 on bitter battle over their £1million home – only to be told it is worthless because of cladding
- Couple spent thousands fighting over £1m home only to find out it was worthless
- Home found to be fitted with cladding outlawed because of Grenfell Tower fire
- They have three years to deal with cladding problem before settling up divorce
A divorcing barrister couple spent £100,000 fighting over their £1million home before it was declared to be worthless because it has Grenfell-style cladding.
The debt-laden couple spent the huge sum on legal fees to claim their respective stakes in the London flat.
But their courtroom battle ended in disaster when the family home was found to be fitted with cladding outlawed because of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. This gave it a grand worth of exactly zero pounds.
A judge ended the costly fight with a ruling that has given the couple – both themselves high-earning lawyers – three years to deal with the cladding problem before they settle up with each other.
A divorcing barrister couple spent £100,000 fighting over their £1million home before it was declared to be worthless because it has Grenfell-style cladding. Picture: Stock
Judge Edward Hess said: ‘It is very sad for the objective observer to witness two educated, intelligent and resourceful individuals being so unable to compromise their differences that their collective activities risk mutual self-destruction.’
He added: ‘As the story unfolds it can be seen that the parties fell victim to the long shadows of the awful Grenfell Tower disaster.’
The couple, who married in 2007 and have two children, broke up in 2019 and began their struggle over their ‘stretched’ resources.
The wife, 44, who earns £155,000 a year working for a City bank, aimed to keep the flat in a ‘striking multi-storey block’ near the financial district for herself and her children.
She agreed to pay her 51-year-old husband, who earns £69,000 a year as a Government lawyer, £300,000 for his share of the £1.1million flat.
The wife was preparing to raise a fresh mortgage of £300,000 to pay the husband for his share of their flat.
Their courtroom battle ended in disaster when the family home was found to be fitted with cladding outlawed because of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 (pictured). This gave it a grand worth of exactly zero pounds.
But in June last year a fire engineer inspected the property and found ‘an adequate standard of safety is not achieved’.
Its value following the inspection was, the court heard, £0. Judge Hess said there was ‘no clarity’ over how the cladding crisis would be resolved.
He said: ‘Who is to blame for this? Who will pay for this? Are the freeholders to blame?… It is early days to reach a conclusion that the Government will come to everybody’s rescue or when this might be.’
The judge said if the wife was forced to pay the £300,000 to the husband now, she would be left with ‘a large pile of debts’.
He ruled that she could delay the payment for three years in order to deal with the cladding, but said it was unknown how that might happen or what the flat would be worth.
He declined to order the former couple to pay each other’s legal bills.
The Mail’s End the Cladding Scandal campaign is calling on ministers to spare leaseholders the cost of fixing fire-risk flats.
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