Sir Bob Neill, the veteran Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, has become the deputy chair of the APPG on leasehold and commonhold reform with a special role in the cladding crisis.
His decision to join the 165-strong MP group – headed by Sir Peter Bottomley and Justin Madders – gives immediate strength to its voice, especially on cladding issues.
A perfect storm is brewing over 10,000s of leasehold blocks as a generation of young home buyers face sudden uncertain employment, but it is even worse for those in cladding sites.
LKP is daily contacted by leaseholders in high and low rise buildings blighted by cladding and unsellable. Many are also being hit with huge bills, some directly concerned with ACM or other forms of cladding.
These could be for what are called politely called “interim measures” – waking watch, massive insurance hikes and fire safety improvements.
Leaseholders can just be caught up in a general panic over fire safety that has seized the property management business.
And why not spend huge sums of money for belt and braces fire safety measures on behalf of the compliance obligations of your offshore employer, given that leaseholders can be forced by the courts to pick up the tab?
On Tuesday the housing minister Stephen (Lord) Greenhalgh called such bills “usurious” and urged that a spotlight of transparency be shone upon them.
After the Grenfell tragedy, LKP questioned whether the absurd and unbalanced leasehold laws could survive the sort of scrutiny they would receive as taxpayers were called upon to stump up billions.
The sort of intensive scrutiny we had in mind is only just beginning …