Alison Thewliss MP is the first member of the Scottish Nationalist Party to join the APPG on leasehold and commonhold reform.
Ms Thewliss, who attended the APPG last week and was pictured standing beside APPG co-chair Sir Peter Bottomley, is the MP for Glasgow Central.
This is an ACM cladding site built by Taylor Wimpey that has been referenced several times on the LKP website.
We have argued that the flat owners in Scotland – who collectively do actually own their properties rather than rent them as in England and Wales – are in a better position to resolve their difficulties.
Scottish flat owners can resolve to take legal action against the builders, warranty providers or building regulators without having to ask a third party freeholder to do it for them.
And why would he? Speculators in ground rents, especially the galere of punters hiding their beneficial ownership with offshore corporate structures, bought these assets to grind out a profit.
Not to be socially useful.
Having combustible cladding on your block of flats – especially an older block with no recourse to the developer or warranty provider or, perhaps, even the regulators – is an absolute disaster whether you are commonholders or leaseholders.
But at least there is the means of redress and action.
Australia has shown the way here, as Professor Susan Bright pointed out at the APPG meeting last week.
In the state of Victoria, the government is paying to remediate buildings in direct dealing with the strata-title commonhold owners. Once safe, the Australian government will seek to recoup costs from the developer, if possible.
This is considerably simpler than the English government’s task. It would have to lend to freeholders to put the buildings right, as the flat “owners” – in fact, leasehold long-term tenants – do not own a brick of the building.
That is the case even for leaseholders at One Hyde Park, who may have paid £140 million for their duplex.
Property tenure – indeed, the property market generally – is far healthier in Scotland.
The market is driven from below with mortgage finance; the age of first-time buyers is far younger than SE England.
We have made an absolute mess out of our residential property market, which should be a dull-as-ditchwater corner of the economy.
Instead, baby-boomer landlords acquired huge buy-to-let portfolios, at the expense of younger buyers who were utterly disadvantaged in mortgage finance.
The rest of the world saw the staggering returns in these safe-ish assets and piled in, too. (Which, the British, insanely permitted: other jurisdictions with over-heated property markets restrict access ie Switzerland.)
The result is that anyone under the age of 35 or so is very likely to be considerably poorer than their parents. What an achievement!
Cladding meeting February 6 at 6.30pm London City Hall, organised by LKP and UKCAG (UK Cladding Action Group). Details to follow