Government funding to speed vital cladding replacement

by Property 118

12:32 PM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

Government funding to speed vital cladding replacement

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Government funding to speed vital cladding replacement

The government has stepped in to speed up vital cladding replacement by fully funding the work, eliminating excuses used by some building owners and protecting leaseholders from the costs.

Around £200 million will be made available to remove and replace unsafe aluminium composite material cladding from around 170 privately owned high-rise buildings.

This step has been taken after private building owners failed to take action and tried to offload costs onto leaseholders.

Prime Minister, Theresa May said: “It is of paramount importance that everybody is able to feel and be safe in their homes.

“That’s why we asked building owners in the private sector to take action and make sure appropriate safety measures were in place. And we’ve seen a number of private building owners doing the right thing and taking responsibility, but unfortunately too many are continuing to pass on the costs of removal and replacement to leaseholders.

“Today I can confirm we will now be fully funding the replacement of cladding on high-rise private residential buildings so residents can feel confident they are secure in their homes.”

Communities Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said: “Although temporary measures are in place to ensure people living in these buildings are safe, too many owners are treating this as a permanent fix. Others are trying to pass on the costs to residents by threatening them with bills running to thousands of pounds.

“While some building owners have been swift to act, and I thank them for doing the right thing, I am now calling time on the delay tactics of others. If these reckless building owners won’t act, the government will.”

The government appreciates the work of Grenfell United and the UK Cladding Action Group who have campaigned prominently, outlining the challenges in getting private building owners to fund the replacement of cladding on their homes.

The government has already fully funded this work in social housing developments. However, private developers and freeholders have been too slow to act and leaseholders have been threatened with significant, often unaffordable, costs resulting in delays.

The latest figures show that 156 private buildings are yet to start works on removing and replacing ACM cladding, compared to 23 in the social sector.

Building owners will have 3 months to access the new fund. We will look carefully at those who fail to remediate and consider what further action can be taken.

Building owners and developers who have already fully funded the remediation of buildings are Pemberstone, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Barratt Developments, Fraser Properties, Legal & General, Mace and Peabody.

Further information

As a condition of funding, we will require the building owner to take reasonable steps to recover the costs from those responsible for the presence of the unsafe cladding.

For the purposes of this press release, high-rise buildings are defined as those above 18 metres in height.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the government identified 176 private high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding. According to the most recent data compiled by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 10 of these buildings have completed work to replace the cladding.

The fund will be available for private high-rise residential buildings (those containing homes). The government is already fully-funding the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on social sector properties.

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the government established a comprehensive building safety programme that included an independent review of fire safety and building regulations. Plans outlined on 18 December 2018 explain how the government will implement the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her review of building regulations and fire safety.

Building owners will be able to register for the fund by early July.



Comments

Ian Narbeth

16:51 PM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

The truth is that the freehold owners of blocks of flats (a) may bear no responsibility for the materials used (b) may be single purpose companies whose only asset is the freehold subject to long leases and (c) own an asset (the freehold) that may only be worth a few thousand pounds (typically 10 to 12 times the annual ground rent). The Government knows this but disingenuously says:
"And we’ve seen a number of private building owners doing the right thing and taking responsibility, but unfortunately too many are continuing to pass on the costs of removal and replacement to leaseholders."

A company with a single asset worth say £30,000 doesn't have £500,000 to spend on replacing cladding. Even if the freehold owner has other assets, why would the company gift £500,000 to the leaseholders and improve the value of its asset by not one penny? The shareholders would rightly complain the directors were in breach of fiduciary duty.

I am afraid this is more "landlord" bashing. In some cases the freehold will be owned by the leaseholders (that's what share of freehold usually means) so on the Government's argument they should accept responsibility!

For understandable political reasons this decision has been taken but don't blame the poor bloody landlords for not putting their hands in their pockets.

Michael Barnes

23:47 PM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

23 buildings in the social sector are yet to be started EVEN WITH the government fully funding the work, yet it is the private sector (see Ian Narbeth's comment above for reasons why they have largely done nothing) that is being attacked!

Ridvan xhakaj

19:45 PM, 10th May 2019
About 4 months ago

This damn cladding has costed many thousands already while trying to remortgage an ex council hmo flat.
Yet I received another letter from the council last week as a gentle reminder
That 3 high buildings a few streets away from mine had the Clading replaced at a total cost just under 3 million and as a lease holder will be contributing to the above cost. Waiting on the amount to be confirmed.


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