APPG, April 26
A picture of relief and continued misery emerged from the meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold reform last week.
Relieved were two representatives of the 95-flat Citiscape site in Croydon, where Barratt – which built the site 17 years ago – is picking up the tab to replace the Grenfell cladding and pay for fire marshals.
Continuing misery was expressed by leaseholder Nigel Pickford at the New Capital Quay site, built only four years ago by Galliard – which is also the freeholder and manages the site. The £20-40 million bill to remove Grenfell cladding at the site is still the cause of wrangling between Galliard and warranty provider the NHBC, with neither is eager to pay up while leaseholders might be bullied into doing so instead. Or, perhaps, the government stepping in.
The life-disruption involved in living in a site where all the homes are blighted and cannot be sold was eloquently expressed by Mr Pickford, in the most powerful speech of the evening.
Sophie Barnes, acting editor of Inside Housing, which has published the most over the cladding issue, gave an overview of the scale of the crisis.
Other speakers included John Hall, director at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, who updated MPs and leasehold sector insiders on the state of government action to outlaw leasehold houses and reduce ground rents to as low as zero.
Law Commissioner Professor Nicholas Hopkins outlined progress on his review of leasehold enfranchisement and extension, and commonhold.
From the floor, Andrew Selous MP raised the issue of those who had bought a lease with doubling ground rent as a re-sale, who are not covered in any of the redress schemes so far proposed by the housebuilders.
After the meeting there was a drinks reception to celebrate the achievements of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, which is also the secretariat of the APPG, in finally getting leasehold reform onto the government’s agenda.