If you have been following the government’s plans for cladding remediation, you may have noticed that a vital group has been left out; leaseholders in buildings between 11 – 18 metres in height.
We want to change this, and we need your help.
Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, the government commissioned an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The Hackitt report instigated a number of legislative recommendations and changes. We have been tracking this process closely and making sure our clients are aware of any changes which affect them.
Since the end of 2019 we have seen the introduction of:
And in addition to legislative changes, there has been widespread debate across the industry, government, media, leaseholders and the public.
Earlier this year, the government announced an additional £3.5 billion package to replace unsafe cladding on high-rise buildings above 18 metres. For buildings between 11 and 18 metres, leaseholders can access a finance scheme to replace unsafe cladding, paying no more than £50 a month on their loan.
While this is a big step in the right direction, we don’t think this is fair for people that own flats in buildings that fall under the 18 metre limit. We are concerned that the 18 metre limit could create a two-tier property market with smaller blocks burdened by loans. Although an upper limit of £50 per month will make this a more affordable option for many, it also means that a 5-figure loan could take potentially decades to be paid off. When a leaseholder wants to sell, does the loan move with them, or stay with the property? How is the loan secured? How will it affect property prices in smaller blocks?
In addition, the Building Safety Fund doesn’t cover all fire safety remediation works, and funding could be held back from leaseholders until certain work has taken place.
To provide context: 11 metres is the equivalent of 3 storeys and there are an estimated 76,000 private and social residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres in height. Comparatively, there are just 12,000 private and social residential buildings above 18 metres, which is 6 storeys high. These figures are from government data updated earlier this year.
The 18 metre measurement is based on obsolete fire equipment. The government has lowered the requirement for sprinklers to 11 metres, so it would make sense for the Building Safety Fund to match this.
We want the government to extend the Building Safety Fund to include ALL buildings over 11 metres. This won’t happen unless we demand change and we need your help to do this.
If you believe in fair access to the Building Safety Fund, we are asking you to write to your MP. You can do this by letter or by email, here’s a template to help get you started:
Remember to include your own address so that your MP knows that you live in their constituency.
We support leasehold reform and we encourage debate on this subject to get the best possible outcome on building safety for everybody involved. Please get in touch with us if you can offer further support on our campaign.