Residential property developers are being asked by the government to help pay for dangerous cladding to be removed from buildings between 11m and 18m high.
Micheal Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Housing and Communities, has said that he’s prepared to take all steps necessary, including bringing in new laws.
He hopes that developers will “do the right thing” and ease the pressure from leaseholders trapped in unsellable and unsafe buildings. Until recently, those living in cladding wrapped, high-rise buildings had been expected to take out a loan using a government scheme.
For many, this wasn’t a solution. The crippling costs, estimated to be around £160,000 per person, resulted in one homeowner being forced to hand back the keys just 6 months after purchasing her first home with a mortgage. Aged just 28, Hayley Tillotson was suddenly lumbered with an eye-watering cost as a result of being sold a property wrapped with flammable material.
“I was plunged into depression. I was on medication for a while. For the next few years now it’s really unstable and uncertain. I don’t have a real bank account anymore, I don’t have a contactless card. I can’t buy a sofa. I used to have such faith in everything and the system, but when something like this happens it does affect you.”
“The industry that caused the problem pays for the problem”
So says Gove who had previously promised that the government would “act swiftly to establish the cause of the (Grenfell Tower) blaze and take appropriate action.” 72 people died and 151 homes were destroyed.
"No leaseholder living in a building above 11m, will ever face any costs for fixing dangerous cladding," Mr Gove told the House of Commons.
"They are blameless and it is morally wrong that they should be asked to pay for the price."
Gove recently wrote to senior members within the property development industry asking them to pay another £4 billion towards the cost of the removal of cladding.
Homes in the UK are still covered with unsafe cladding
The New Build Database estimates a further 3.7 million problem homes are in blocks between 11m and 18m. Many people are currently living in unfit housing and unmortgageable homes, meaning they either stay put or leave and lose any money they’ve invested in the property.
Most mortgage lenders now require an EWS1 form before they’ll agree to approve a mortgage for a flat, even one that isn’t high-rise and covered in the cladding.
As a result, the owners of as many as 4.6 million flats in England could be stuck with unsaleable properties.
Shockingly, more than 3,300 military personnel are also living in high-rises with combustible cladding. As reported by Worcester news, 200 Royal Navy personnel located within 2 blocks at the HMS base in Portsmouth are still living in such accommodation.
4 and a half years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, is it right that tenants, homeowners and military personnel are still waiting for a solution? March 2022 is the deadline that’s been set by the government for residential builders to respond and come to an agreement but what are your thoughts? Who should pay for the cladding to be removed?