#EndOurCladdingScandal

#EndOurCladdingScandal

9:06 AM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago 9

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I wondered if Property118 readers would be able to add some support to the campaign to protect leaseholders in the current cladding scandal.

You could use the below link to send a template email to your MP – the site does the clever bit of finding your MP, but the template needs a little customisation and/or circulate the link with or without the attached points to anyone that might add their support (especially anyone who has a Conservative MP, all other MP’s seem to ‘get it’) it would be greatly appreciated.

https://endourcladdingscandal.eaction.org.uk/emailmpbsb2

– Leaseholders didn’t contribute to the problem – they cannot afford the bills being sent
– The Waking Watch fund doesn’t actually cover Waking Watch costs
– The Building Safety Fund only applies to some buildings and doesn’t even cover all the safety issues.
– Insurance costs have rocketed – typically 3 to 10 fold (300% to 1000%) increases
– There is a clear conflict of interest with Managing Agents happy to agree costs, knowing that they will be passed on (in full and/or with additional ‘commission’) to the innocent parties.
– Additional Legal obligations to search for other ‘scapegoats’ will merely delay the works

The government should aim to expedite the works, if necessary by covering the up-front costs – and reclaiming them, over time, from the guilty parties (ie Polluter Pays).

Thanks & Regards
Rob



Comments

by alan bloodworth

12:03 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

My local MP, Shabana Mahmood (Lab), has spoken publically condemning the national cladding scandal. However where the local council (also Lab) is the freeholder she is remarkably silent. Our politicians are a national disgrace.

by Ian Narbeth

13:16 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

Whilst I feel very sorry for people caught up in this, I do not believe that simply asking the Government to pay whatever it costs is the answer. The Government will be ripped off by contractors and end up paying two or three times what it ought to.
The problem is exacerbated by the requirement that even two storey buildings being refurbished need different cladding. This is adding to the demand for materials and workmen and pushing up costs.
Much of what the Government spends will be irrecoverable from so-called "guilty parties" as it will be difficult or impossible to establish fault. There are also complex legal problems in claiming economic losses. Insolvency of "guilty parties" will make much litigation fruitless.
After 4 years Phase 2 of the Grenfell Inquiry has not completed. That will look at responsibility for design failures and the legal cases against potentially responsible parties have not even begun. Legal claims will be complicated where the cladding is "safe" for the building but the general approach means it has to be removed to satisfy insurers. There will be arguments about foreseeability.
I think Government might offer low interest loans to leaseholders, secured by mortgages on their flats. This would give leaseholders an incentive to keep costs down. Otherwise there is a clear conflict of interest with leaseholders happy to agree costs knowing they will be passed on in full to the Government.

by DALE ROBERTS

15:42 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

I quote from your comment above "The Government will be ripped off by contractors and end up paying two or three times what it ought to."
This is exactly what is expected from innocent leaseholders who did not build, inspect, pass or legislate the rules governing building standards in the UK. All they did was buy into the dream of owning their own home. That dream has become a nightmare legislated with extreme haste by the government into an outright condemnation of the innocent into spiraling costs to protect the corrupt. No other country with cladding installations has acted in this appalling manner. Every effort should be made to expose this scandal including supporting the above plea. The UK government ignores the severity of the situation because attitudes like yours exist.
People who bought homes with fire safety issues would get better after sales service from the company that sold them a faulty iron.
How do you justify your stance when leaseholders are receiving bills amounting to the value of their initial purchase to make right the egregious building standards of their homes.
THEIR HOMES.
Which are now fire hazards valued at nil.

by Ian Narbeth

16:42 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

Dale
I do not think the Government is at all influenced by "attitudes" like mine. Bad things happen to good people.

I have on this forum criticised Robert Jenrick's ridiculous solution of extending the time limit for litigating. I do not expect the Government will pay for fixing everything and it will take a long time to do whatever it is going to do.

The priority must be to get the properties fixed so that they are saleable. The longer that is delayed the worse for everyone affected.

Given that commercial lenders will require security that most leaseholders cannot offer, the Government is the lender of last resort.

I understand your anger and agree that substantial change is required in the construction industry but we have to deal with the world we have, not the one we would like. If the Treasury was prepared to open the floodgates (hard enough without a Covid - induced recession) it would have done so by now. Grants are available but they are limited. Moreover, I think leaseholders have a better chance of keeping costs under control if they are the employers of contractors than civil servants..

I am sorry to appear hard-nosed about this but my proposal I believe offers a speedier way to sort out this awful mess and makes the best of a bad job..

by DALE ROBERTS

16:53 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

I am of the opinion that the polluter should always pay. Surely a more equitable solution to this heinous situation would have seen the government offering low interest" loans" to obscenely wealthy stock exchange listed development companies to remedy this scandal instead of passing the responsibility to the leaseholders who are victims of a system not of their making.
Why would you want to make homeowners bear the double cost of debt in home ownership that would take double their lifetimes to service?
I usually enjoy your comments Neil. They are cogent, erudite and very supportive of property owners.
In this instance however you are failing them.

by Ian Narbeth

17:03 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

Dale
Analogies have their limits. This is not like pollution where the risk was obvious. Even under "polluter pays" if the polluter no longer exists, the cost of clean-up falls on the owner.
If the developer/contractor or whoever might be responsible no longer exists, to which "obscenely wealthy stock exchange listed development companies" should a loan be made? Why would the companies borrow?
I am sorry you think I am failing property owners but this will not be solved quickly if people expect the Government to pay for everything.

by Shining Wit

10:50 AM, 28th August 2021, About a month ago

Like Dale, I usually enjoy reading Ian's comments (for the reasons has given), but I agree that, in this instance, Ian's views are missing (part of) the point of the problem.

Leaseholders are unable to pay the obscene sums. Nor do they have any control over what the costs are. Nor did they play any part in creating the problem.

Fire risk assessors determine what the risks are, and the managing agents (acting on behalf of the freeholder) find contractors to quote for the work - knowing that all the costs will be passed onto the leaseholder (along with sizeable commission for the agents). Currently, there is a shortage of competent contractors (and some of the same companies/manufacturers helped cause the faults).
There is clearly a conflict of interest here, and the leaseholders are powerless to do anything about it.

The objective, surely, has to be to remediate all the safety risks as quickly as possible - and the only way to do that is for the government to provide the funds up front, manage how the costs are being spent, and then recover the costs from the guilty parties . We must ensure that all necessary works are carried out (there's no point fixing the cladding if the insulation behind it will still burn). The current proposals (BS Fund) only cover a fraction of the costs - with the rest being passed on to leaseholders. If they can't pay, the works can't start.

Do you have £50k readily available?
Do you know (of) anyone that could pay a bill of that size in 28 days?
We now know that Boris couldn't.

Leaseholders didn't create this mess.
The Grenfell Inquiry is gradually unravelling what went wrong - and it isn't a pretty picture. It has shown that leaseholders were not responsible and neither were taxpayers.
It is a government responsibility to expedite the solution/remediation while protecting the innocent.
The current proposals do neither - but the proposed amendments go a long way to doing both.
Please encourage your MP's to support the amendments.

Thank-you.
SW

by Edwin Cowper

11:45 AM, 28th August 2021, About a month ago

There is no such thing as "the government" when it comes to paying. It is you and me. Is it right that ordinary working people, who may not live in a house they are buying, should fork out? If so, there must be a limit.

The thing which concerns me the most about this is the danger. If the cladding is not dangerous, then what's the fuss about? The lenders should be sorted out by the government on their lending criteria on non dangerous cladding.

"No other country with cladding has acted in this manner" Please tell me which other countries have not acted in this manner and what they did instead.

by Shining Wit

10:34 AM, 31st August 2021, About 4 weeks ago

While it is true that the government doesn’t have any of its own money, it does have access to – and happily spends – a lot of taxpayers money on things which we don’t all agree with (railway upgrades, schools, roads, nuclear power stations, furlough schemes, UC uplifts).
Is it right that working families who do not should fork out for ?

The objective is (or should be), to fix all the safety defects as quickly as possible – and ensure that the costs of doing so are fairly apportioned.
Putting aside, for a moment, the injustice of passing the cost of fixing historic deliberate ‘build defects’ onto leaseholders under the guise of ‘maintenance’, I’d like to highlight a couple of ‘unintended consequences’ of the current proposals.

Works can’t start until all the funds are ‘in place’ – so any delay in securing the funding will delay the remediation.

Contrary to Ian’s comments, Leaseholders will not have any means to control the costs – that will all be ‘managed’ by the building’s Managing Agents who actually work for the freeholder and add commission (10-15%) and charge it all to the leaseholders.

Adding extra obligations onto the Managing Agents (before they pass the costs on to leaseholders) will only delay the fundraising. Similarly, actually sending a bill for £75,000 to each leaseholder is more likely to induce forfeiture, bankruptcy and homelessness (and potentially loss of employment/career in some professions) than it is to result in payment. Ordinary individuals/families are receiving these enormous bills and they will probably not have the odd £50k ‘stuffed under the mattress’.

Thanks to confusing EWS1 guidance/interpretation, many flats now have zero value, so leaseholders have negative equity, can’t sell or re-mortgage and the flats can’t be used as security for any additional loan.

The Building Safety (BS) Fund is a step in the right direction – but it currently only covers some unsafe cladding (‘ACM’). It doesn’t cover other unsafe materials or construction elements (such as dangerous insulation and missing/ineffective fire breaks/compartmentation) and, of course, it only covers high rise flats (18m+), and not lower-rise buildings, that could actually be a greater risk.

There is so much that is wrong with the current proposals, that it isn’t practical to outline it here, let alone give detailed costings of a fairer solution. However, having spoken to a number of affected leaseholders and read assorted blogs and forums, I can say that the current government proposals create a number of issues, whereas the various suggested amendments to the Building Safety Bill go a long way to delivering a quick, fairer, solution – which is, after all, what we should be aiming for.


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