In a development on the cladding crisis, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has today announced that he will be “absolutely willing to use legal rules” to make builders pay for the removal of unsafe cladding from lower height buildings. So far, residents in blocks 11-18m high have not been eligible for government support to remove unsafe cladding leaving many with crippling bills. Gove has written to firms giving them until March to agree a plan to protect leaseholders trapped in ‘unsellable homes’.
This will bring some relief to the thousands of people trapped in homes that they cannot sell and who cannot afford the average bill of approximately £40,000 per leaseholder to resolve the situation. Mr Gove went on to say that while some companies had shown leadership and covered the costs, others had not ‘shouldered their responsibilities’.
“It is neither fair nor decent that innocent leaseholders, many of whom have worked hard and made sacrifices to get a foot on the housing ladder, should be landed with bills they cannot afford to fix problems they did not cause,” he said in a letter to developers in England and Wales.
“For too many of the people living in properties your industry has built in recent years, their home has become a source of misery.”
The Grenfell fire, which killed 72 people in 2017, uncovered the problem with flammable cladding and other fire safety defects in hundreds of blocks of flats across the UK. Up to now, the government has only offered to pay to have the cladding removed in buildings over 18m high leaving leaseholders in smaller buildings facing huge bills to rectify the situation. While the average cost per leaseholder has been put at around £40,00, some have been presented with bills of more than £200,000, more than they paid for their flat.
While this news will be welcome by people in this situation, there is anger that this only presents a half-solution as it only covers the cladding issue not other non-cladding fire safety issues such as flammable balconies, defective insulation and missing fire breaks. Many leaseholders feel they will still be presented with huge bills to rectify the other non-cladding issues.
While this is a welcome step in the right direction, more support will be needed to ensure leaseholders aren’t trapped in homes due to faults and issues not of their making and beyond their control.
If you are thinking of purchasing a property, having a survey done beforehand can give you peace of mind to progress with the sale. At Avery, all of our surveyors are RICS registered and offer professional, honest and impartial advice on the property they survey. If you would like to know more about the types of surveys we offer, or want to discuss your options, please do get in touch, one of our friendly team will be happy to help. You can contact us via our contact page or by calling
Sometimes the purchase of your home may fall through. If you have previously booked a HomeBuyer Report with us, we will offer you up to 10% loyalty discount* off your next survey. Just Quote "PROMO10" and we will be happy to help.PROMO10