Government won’t pay compensation to flat owners with Grenfell-style cladding

Ryan Bembridge

July 18, 2019

Residents of Grenfell-style tower blocks have been told the government will pay for new cladding – but they can forget about compensation for ‘stress and inconvenience’.

Leaseholders in some flats have hired lawyers described as ‘ambulance chasers’ who are pledging to win payouts from developers for loss of income, reduction in property values, distress and inconvenience.

The government has set aside more than £600m for remedial works to be carried out at developments across the country – but the government ruled out using the money as a compensation fund.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “The fund is for the removal of ACM cladding only. This is a public safety issue due to the risk presented by ACM cladding. It is not a compensation fund.

“NHS England has ring-fenced at least £2.3bn a year by 2023-24 for local mental health provisions as part of the Long Term Plan. IAPT is a programme of talking therapies that anyone can access to help them overcome their anxiety and depression, and better manage their mental health.”

Residents in social housing have reportedly complained about turning to drinks and drugs, suffering from bouts of depression and having suicidal feelings.

It previously emerged that London law firm Leigh Day said it has signed up 58 people at the New Capital Quay development in Greenwich, where the insurer of the building, National House Building Council, is paying for the cladding at the 11-block complex to be replaced and work has started.

Specialist costs lawyers have previously warned the up-front costs for leaseholders who take the action could be ‘substantial’ and one consultant described the case as a ‘bean-feast’ for their lawyers.

As yet, no tenants at any other local authority block blighted by the combustible cladding have launched legal claims for additional losses.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: “We are not aware of any law firms approaching council tenants.”

Fran Reddington, one of the leaseholders of flats in Manchester who won a campaign to force the building’s owner or developer to pay the estimated £5m bill to replace cladding, said the issue of getting compensation for distress and inconvenience had not come up because residents in Manchester were so relieved that they were able to “shame” the developers into removing the cladding.

She said: “We got taken to the tribunal by our freeholder last year. We didn’t get legal support to fight the tribunal.

“Following that, we got quite a few people offering pro bono advice and it looked that costs could clock up very quickly.”

“A couple of the residents wanted to take legal action but we were thinking of the bigger picture, we didn’t have to pay for the cladding.”

Sign up to our daily email