AN ESTATE agent in Reading has apologised after they were fined £30,000 for not telling buyers their flat contained Grenfell style cladding.

Haslam's appeared at Reading Magistrates' Court on October 25 after Reading Borough Council discovered the flat in Hanover House, Kings Road had aluminium composite material (ACM), similar material found in the Grenfell Tower.

The estate agents has feels "deepy upset" over the situation and believes it was down to miscommunication between the sales and marketing departments.

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A Haslams spokesman said: "Haslams is probably the most trusted estate agency in the area having served the people of Reading for over 180 years. "Every day our staff receive thousands of calls and emails from our customers looking for our help or assistance.

"Unfortunately, this incident occurred because a communication received was not passed between departments in a timely manner. We pleaded guilty due to strict liability and fully acknowledge there was a break down in internal communication, however we must stress that there was never any intent to delay informing the buyer or mislead them in any way."

The buyers had an offer accepted on the flat in October 2017, however an inspection a month later discovered the building's cladding contained aluminium composite material (ACM).

Haslams, which lets several flats in the block in Reading, were sent the information about the ACM on the same day as the inspection, which was before the date on which the buyers exchanged contracts.

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The court hearing found the information about the 'dangerous' cladding was withheld with the lettings team and was not shared to the sales department.

The sale was completed the following day and half an hour after collecting hte keys, buyers were told by Haslams sales team about the ACM.

However, Haslams say that as soon as the cladding issue came to light, the managing director contacted the buyers and offered a series of measures such as reducing their rent and charging no fees for letting and managing their property - which were accepted by the buyer.

Haslams added: "As soon as the problem came to light, Steve Woodford (MD of Haslams), proactively contacted the client and offered a series of measures

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"A comprehensive review of the matter was conducted immediately and it was concluded to be a failing of the system rather than any one person. "Consequently, new processes and procedures have been implemented to ensure that such an incident never happens again. The Council’s Trading Standard’s team said they “welcomed Haslams’ response to the investigation and the improvements it has made to prevent it happening again."