The developers of Beetham Tower are facing the prospect of legal action over claims that apartments in Birmingham's tallest residential block aren't luxurious enough.
At least six people, who signed contracts to buy flats in the newly completed 400-feet tower, claim the standard of the completed accommodation does not match claims made in sales literature. The investors, who agreed to buy off-plan and paid deposits before building work was completed, allege the flats have been overvalued and projected rental values are significantly below what was anticipated.
They claim Beetham's promise of five-star standards have not been met. The Beetham Organisation rejects all of the allegations.
In sales leaflets, Beetham claimed the £50 million tower would offer the "highest quality apartments ever seen in Birmingham" and that purchasers would benefit from living on top of a five star hotel, the SAS Radisson.
In fact, the Radisson is a four star hotel although last night it continued to be advertised as five-star on the Beetham Organisation website.
Investors claim the completed apartments do not contain several features promised in the sales literature. These include solar-powered heating, slate floors and a card-entry security system. Lounges and bedrooms are without ceiling or wall lights and the bathrooms without a power shower.
An independent housing inspection firm called in by the angry investors uncovered 40 separate faults in a single flat.
David Turley, one of the investors, is considering legal action in an attempt to recover the £27,700 deposit he paid for a two bedroom flat. Mr Turley had intended to rent the flat out and claims he was told by sales agents to expect a monthly income of £1,200. In fact, two bedroom flats at Beetham Tower are currently available for rent at £850 a month.
Mr Turley refused to complete the sale after inspecting the completed flat.
"When I had a look at my flat it wasn't what was first promised in their glitzy sales magazines," he said. "A lot of the fixtures and fittings aren't in-keeping with what was advertised."
Mr Turley had the flat he was going to buy valued at £210,000 - significantly less than the £277,000 sales price.
Beetham chief executive, Stephen Beetham, defended the project. "This development has the highest quality overall specification of any residential or hotel building in Birmingham," he said. "This development has been very successful and the hotel is currently regarded as the number one in Birmingham and is fitted out to a higher specification than originally envisaged by either Beetham or Radisson SAS."
Mr Beetham said there was "considerable hype" about property investment which may have led people without much experience in the sector to have unrealistic expectations about their investment.
He could not comment on the allegations raised by individual investors because the matter was the subject of potential legal action.
By no means all purchasers at Beetham Tower are unhappy about their investment.
David Yeomans, director of Midlands-based Liquidity, a financial services company, bought a one bedroom apartment which he intends to rent out.
Mr Yeomans said: "I am really pleased with my apartment. The fittings are fantastic, a very high standard and of a much higher quality than my other investment properties. I have bought exactly what I was sold - a high specification apartment that will be an excellent investment. I am on the 31st floor and the views are amazing. I am confident this will be a good long-term investment." ..SUPL: