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Government set to provide financial support for cladding removal

Jessica Nangle

February 10, 2021

Government ministers are set to provide financial support towards removing non-compliant cladding, in an aim to help leaseholders currently impacted by the crisis. 

The House of Commons tweeted that in a live stream of Prime Minister’s Questions at midday today, an update would be provided by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Currently, homeowners in properties with flammable cladding are having to pay out of their own pocket to get non-compliant cladding removed and replaced following the Grenfell Tower Tragedy in 2017.

The exact total of financial support has not been confirmed, however The Guardian suggests that measures under consideration include a £5bn grant for leaseholders and a £2bn levy on developers.

Jonathan Frankel, head of the property litigation department at Cavendish Legal Group, says leaseholders need to get legal advice from experts in the area if they fear they still may be forced to pay for repairs.

He said: “The cost of replacing cladding is going to run into the billions so it will be interesting to see how far the government is willing to go in terms of extra funding.

“Of course, leaseholders have been stuck in limbo on this issue to a certain extent, not wishing to stay in a property they don’t feel safe in, but unable to sell (or often refinance) with such a liability hanging round it.

“The fact is the freeholders in many cases will not get the cladding safety tested because of the fear of the cost of the repairs.

“Whether the freeholder can pass the costs on to the leaseholder remains the issue here – as many will not be able to pay and will run the risk of losing their home.

“This is where government support could be most beneficial in protecting leaseholders and enabling repair work to go ahead without the freeholder worrying about the costs, or delaying the much needed rectification works.

“As a leaseholder it’s important to get legal advice from experts in leasehold and property law, whether it’s about the prospect of being a mortgage prisoner, or if they are being forced to pay big costs to remedy the cladding when they can’t afford to.

“While it’s right that potentially dangerous cladding is removed following the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, it’s not right that leaseholders should expect to pick up a bill they can’t afford, or risk losing their home.”

This news follows chief executive of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) Nigel Glen discussing the ongoing issue of funding to solve the cladding crisis with BBC News earlier this month, where he warns that this issue of funding along with other costs may soon “unfairly burden leaseholders”.

Click here to read the latest developments on this story following Prime Minister’s Questions.


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