A proposal by government to dump all the costs of remediating cladding on leaseholders in the form of long-term loans has softened.
Instead, housebuilders are going to be pressed to divvy up, in line with a counter proposal from LKP.
The government announced today:
“The government is clear the building industry must contribute towards the costs of making these homes safe once more, to set right decades of unsafe practices.
“Work continues at pace to develop further financial solutions to protect leaseholders with details to be announced in the new year.”
This came at the end of the government’s announcement that £30 million was going to be made available to help pay for waking watch bills at cladding sites.
New £30million Waking Watch Relief Fund for fire alarms to reduce costs for leaseholders forced to have a waking watch £1 billion Building Safety Fund deadlines extended to ensure more eligible buildings can remove unsafe cladding Around 95% of buildings with dangerous ‘Grenfell type’ ACM cladding to have completed remediation or have workers on site by the end of the year The government has today (17 December 2020) announced a £30 million fund to help end the scandal of excessive waking watch costs, as part of a further move to support thousands of residents in high-rise buildings.
This is a change of tack on proposals from Michael Wade, the insurance sector businessmen who has been brought in to advise government on funding cladding remediation.
Following leasehold law, Mr Wade believes that leaseholders must pay for the cladding remediation and has come up with a long-term loan scheme to bring this about. The idea included undetailed suggestions that housebuilders and freeholders might contribute.
Mr Wade outlined his plan to the All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold reform on December 10. This can be seen here:
In response, LKP asked its trustee Dean Buckner, a former economist at the Bank of England, to come up with a counter proposal, which drew on levies from housebuilders, freeholders and included taxation from non-domicled residential property purchasers.
The proposal that the cladding redemediation bill be dumped on leaseholders has caused a storm of outrage: not least because ministers – including prime ministers – have said that this should not happen.
Government has changed tack today in its announcement of £30 million for waking watch relief.
Yesterday Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that escalating waking watch bills were “becoming a rip-off”.
Waking watch was always intended as a temporary solution before permanent fire alarm systems were installed.
“The fund will open in January, but will also provide immediate, emergency support to Wicker Riverside Apartments in Sheffield to ensure that the 35 recently evacuated families should be able to return to their homes before Christmas.”
Paul Wood, from Sheffield City Council, said: “We are appalled that despite advice this building has fire safety issues that puts at risk residents and we are working closely with SYFRS.”
“A 6-month extension to the deadline for building owners to complete their applications to the £1 billion Building Safety Fund has also been announced – with a new deadline for submissions of 30 June 2021.”