UK markets open in 6 hours 58 minutes
  • NIKKEI 225

    27,916.51
    +94.75 (+0.34%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    23,475.26
    -376.98 (-1.58%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    66.69
    +0.51 (+0.77%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,778.80
    +2.30 (+0.13%)
     
  • DOW

    34,483.72
    -652.22 (-1.86%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    43,268.34
    -388.17 (-0.89%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,476.41
    +33.64 (+2.33%)
     
  • ^IXIC

    15,537.69
    -245.14 (-1.55%)
     
  • ^FTAS

    4,025.87
    -31.76 (-0.78%)
     

Flat owners won't be made to pay for cladding, says Gove

·2-min read
Contractors undertake works at a residential property in Paddington, London, as part of a project to remove and replace non-compliant cladding. Picture date: Wednesday January 20, 2021.
Gove said that plans to make flat owners fork out for fixing their properties would be put on hold and called requirements for 24-hour fire patrols a "rip-off". Photo: PA

Michael Gove has questioned why flat owners have been left picking up the bill as dangerous cladding is removed from buildings. 

Calling leaseholders "innocent parties", the housing secretary said the government had a responsibility to help them with the large costs. 

Gove said that plans to make flat owners fork out for fixing their properties would be put on hold and called requirements for 24-hour fire patrols a "rip-off". 

Building repairs have been underway in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people in 2017. Flammable cladding and other fire safety defects were also discovered in hundreds of blocks of flats across the UK.

Gove also said the government had "failed people at Grenfell".

In February, the government outlined plans to rectify unsafe cladding on buildings with a £5bn investment. At the time, it said it would fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres (6 storeys) and higher in England.

Since then, MPs estimated the total cost would be £15bn.

While the scheme nets a large portion of affected properties, buildings between 11m and 18m are not covered by the Building Safety Fund. Ministers also announced a loan scheme, where leaseholders would repay up to £50 a month.

Read more: UK grocery inflation at 14-month high as snacks see price hike

Removing cladding can cost millions of pounds per block, with the amount often being borne by individual flat owners, under the leasehold system in England and Wales.

There are hundreds of thousands of people still living in unsafe blocks of flats to this day. 

Dudley Joiner, director of the Leaseholder Association, welcomed the comments from Gove, but noted that in many cases the current landlords (freeholders) are also innocent parties. 

"In most cases it is the freeholder that has the smallest investment in the building, usually less than 10%. They have also inherited the problem and it is equally unfair to expect them to step in and pay for all the remedial works," he said.

"What the industry and leaseholders urgently require is an objective and purposeful response from Government to resolve the issue, with less focus on the blame game. 

"Of course those responsible for ignoring building regulations and falsifying fire tests should be brought to justice, but this is inevitably a long-term exercise and does not address the immediate needs of flat-owners."

Watch: Grenfell: Government to pause leaseholders paying to make cladding safe, Michael Gove confirms

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting