And housing associations need to help shared-owners
The senior MPs who are chairs of the APPG on leasehold have told the government today that freeholders should pay for cladding remediation or pass the freeholds on to the leaseholders living in the blocks.
The message comes from Sir Peter Bottomley, Father of the House, Sir Ed Davey, leader of the LibDems, and Justin Madders, who are also the patron MPs of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership.
It is addressed to Lord Greenhalgh, the housing minister responsible for cladding issues and leasehold.
The initiative marks a contrast with the current direction of government thinking.
Its consultant on the financing of cladding remediation, insurance businessman Michael Wade, has proposed finance to follow existing landlord and tenant law.
This means leaseholders pick up the bill – and face forfeiture if they do not pay – with the government structuring long-term loans that it is hoped will appeal to pension investors and similar.
There is no provision that freeholders or developers pay anything at all under Mr Wade’s proposals outlined to date. There is a hope that they might make a contribution, however.
To LKP, this appears to be a return to ministers urging freeholders to “do the decent thing” and pay for their buildings: a forlorn hope that was repeatedly without a single success for two years after Grenfell.
The APPG chairs seek to make the freeholder responsible for the cladding bill, or lose the freehold:
They tell Lord Greenhalgh:
“APPG officers propose that private freeholds should be made to agree to pay for all remediation cladding costs. Failure to do so to result in control of the freehold title passing to the leaseholders.”
In addition, the APPG chairs urge government:
“to require all social landlords to make a substantial financial contribution to remediate the cladding on shared ownership flats.
“The reason: it is not right for innocent financially-stretched lease-renters to have to carry these costs. In appropriate circumstances, government or its agency could reimburse charitable housing providers.”