Leaseholders facing big remediation bills for cladding on their blocks could be set for a happier Christmas than expected, following speculation in the press last week that the Government may finally be about to take action to help them.
Sources described as “close to the Government” have apparently been spilling the beans, telling journalists that Housing Secretary Michael Gove is poised to make an announcement on funding cladding repairs.
The current stance – which is to make leaseholders in medium-rise buildings pay for their own repairs via a government backed loan – has been widely criticised, not least by us in this blog. It also flies in the face of promises that leaseholders wouldn’t have to pay anything to fix buildings they bought in good faith. The Government has not stood by this pledge but nor has it released any details on the proposed loan scheme to-date.
With a new incumbant at the rebranded DLUHC, all that has apparently changed. If the “sources” are correct, flat owners can expect to see another £1bn added to the Building Safety Fund to fix medium-rise buildings plus another £30m for the Waking Watch Fund. All good news.
But even better news is that the leaseholder loan scheme for buildings under 18 metres tall could be scrapped. Instead the Housing Secretary is said to be looking into alternatives, including making developers and building owners pay up or face the consequences. The ‘consolidated advice note’ that has caused so much heartache for flat owners by insisting on EWS1 forms for a whole range of blocks that clearly don’t need one, could also be consigned to the scrap heap by Christmas.
An end to the cladding crisis is at the top of this year's wish list for thousands of leaseholders around the country. Let’s hope this isn’t just a case of fake news and that the DLUHC will quickly follow through on last week's press reports.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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