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Cladding – A Problem Solved Or Is This Just Another Empty Plan?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The Housing Secretary has stated and outlined a government plan which intends to ‘protect leaseholders and make wealthy developers and companies pay to fix the cladding crisis’.

What has Changed?

In short, the recent announcement did not introduce any new law or any timescales with regards to any legislative change. All the announcement did was to declare an intention to discus with developers and ask them to make financial contributions to ‘cover the full outstanding cost to remedy unsafe cladding on 11-18m buildings, currently estimated to be £4bn.

The Housing Secretary is aiming to have a fully funded plan of action to deal with unsafe cladding on buildings between 11-18m high by early March.

The new plans are welcomed as the previous financial scheme offering ‘long-term, low interests’ loans have been heavily slated and thought to have been adding to leaseholders debt.

Is the £4bn in addition to funding previously? If so how will it be funded?

Yes – the government’s intention is to require developers to contribute to the latest remediation fund.

If developers are not willing to contribute and steps to impose a solution aren’t imminent, there is a fog around the government’s plan B – as the treasury are unwilling to introduce new taxes or increase current tax to raise funds.

Is my building affected?

The additional fund of £4bn is intended to assist the remediation of unsafe cladding on buildings between 11-18m high. Although there is not yet any set strict ‘eligibility criteria’.

So, the costs of cladding remediation works are covered, but what about my related, interim safety costs?

The Housing Secretary has stated that the fund will apply to ‘unsafe cladding’ only.

The repeated promise to protect all leaseholders

The announcement states that no leaseholder living in a building above 11m will ever face any costs for repairing the dangerous cladding. An absurd promise, and one that fails to recognise the thousands of leaseholders who have already faced such costs and will continue to do so until the latest policies are implemented. The above promise is not a new one, and is one that PM Theresa May stated back in 2018.

However, the government did state that statutory protection would be introduced for the leaseholders – but we still await the details of the protection and cannot comment on how successful or effective it will be.

Tom Charteress

Posted:

Tom Charteress

Paralegal

Tom is a Paralegal in the Commercial Property team based in the Kettering office. He assists the Social Housing Team, dealing with Shared Ownership sales and Right to Buy sales and assists the senior fee earners in the Commercial Property Team.