Industry reacts: Next government should introduce cladding fund

Michael Lloyd

December 6, 2019


The next government should put money aside for a cladding fund according to Howard Levy, director of SPF Private Clients.

Levy said the lack of funding and cohesion with the situation is accidentally creating mortgage prisoners.

Levy said: I would like to see a cladding fund where the government puts aside money to aid the freeholders and leaseholders of these buildings to fix any problems in complying with the fire regulations that have rightly been imposed.

“This will allow them to address the situation quickly and efficiently as opposed to trying to muster funds to remedy cladding issues.

“I am sure that freeholders and service managers are inundated with requests from residents and unfortunately they can’t address these quickly enough, considering that people’s lives might be at risk.

“The government also needs to consider the mortgage prisoners it is creating. Flat owners are finding it impossible to remortgage where inspections have not occurred or have occurred and have brought up issues needing to be addressed, as lenders won’t proceed if they perceive there to be cladding issues.

“This is creating accidental mortgage prisoners and clients are often having to remain on default rates until the issues are addressed, which can take months and puts a strain on clients’ resources through no fault of their own.”

David Hollingworth, associate director of communications at L&C Mortgages, said that it’s a big issue and to help fund solving it, the government needs to measure how much this would cost.

He added: “If it’s completely replacing all the cladding, you need to know the scale of how much that would cost. Do they know the full scale of the problem yet?

“It’s not just the buy-to-let market but people in all sots of situation through no fault of their own.

“Looking at all solutions to solve it has to be high on the agenda, whether through funding or putting process in place to speed things up.”

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, believes more house building is needed and nationalisation could provide the answer to this.

He said: “Rather than nationalising BT they should nationalise the housebuilder, which is perhaps a trick they actually missed in the credit crisis, coming out with some national housebuilder.

“We need some sort of post-war housing boom again.”

Nadir Darediya, mortgage and protection specialist at Perfect Financial Services, said the government should scrap the stamp duty surcharge for additional properties.

He added: “That has discouraged buy-to-let landlords because of that extra 3% when purchasing another property.

“The government should also build more affordable houses to help first-time buyers. Properties on Help to Buy have a huge premium.”

Others emphasised calls for the government to support the much-needed private rented sector and give landlords a break from anymore changes.

Emma Cox, head of sales – commercial at Shawbrook Bank, said: “I’d like for them to get behind the private rental sector and rather than see it as a cashcow and an easy win on political and emotional statements about landlords and tax revenue.

“The PRS is a vital housing solution and is in crisis and the government should get behind it and encourage responsible social housing provided through the private rented landlords in a sustainable way.

“At the minute it feels to me that they’re not resolving the issue elsewhere either, so we’re still left with this massive problem and the answer is there to potentially solve it but they’re not working with landlords, they’re working against them.

“If the government were to get behind that I think we’d see a lot more of the housing crisis and homelessness and a lot more of the other social economic issues tackled and dealt with.”

Adam Kasamun, associate director, LDNfinance, said that it would be a lot easier for the government to support the PRS rather than building more social housing.

He added: “Obviously building more social housing is an idealist solution but people have been talking about it for years.

“The housing market is treated a bit like political football where it goes around the field and no one has any answers apart form to criticise the supposed cashcow landlords are.

“In the last few years we’ve seen many changes like that.

“There is a lot they can do to support it, but they have to want to support it and I don’t think they ultimately do.”

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