Property

Cladding crisis must not leave any leaseholders out of pocket

Government plans to address the cladding crisis have been welcomed as a step in the right direction by the Law Society of England and Wales.

The devastating Grenfell Tower fire and subsequent public inquiry exposed the widespread use of hazardous cladding.

Many thousands of flat owners living in potential fire traps are being hit by huge bills to manage and rectify life-threatening cladding issues affecting their homes. Most who want to sell are unable to do so.

Michael Gove, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, today announced that support for leaseholders would be extended to those in blocks below six storeys, as well as plans to make developers pay for the costs of remediation.

“Today’s announcements are a step in the right direction for innocent homeowners who are under intense emotional and financial pressure,” said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.

“We have been raising concerns for some time now that leaseholders, who live in unsafe buildings through no fault of their own, are bearing the brunt of the costs of cladding remediation.

“We argued that the government should remove the block height restriction on eligibility for financial support available to leaseholders for cladding remediation and are pleased to see this step now being taken for 11-18 metre buildings.

“The restriction of financial support to those in the tallest blocks unfairly deprived leaseholders in small and medium-sized blocks of any remedy and left them significantly out of pocket for a problem not of their own making.

“We urge the government to go further and remove the height restriction completely, so that leaseholders in blocks of any height can access financial support.

“We welcome plans for developers responsible for dangerous building defects to pay for works to rectify these defects, which we have called for. If developers cannot reach a consensus on how to play their part, then they should be legally obliged to do so.”

Notes to editors

See the government's press release

Read Michael Gove's letter to the residential property developer industry

Read our note on building safety for flat buyers

About the Law Society

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Press office contact: Nick Mayo | 020 8049 4100

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