Government Protects Leaseholders from Further Post-Grenfell Costs

On 10th January, the government put forward a new plan to help protect leaseholders from the costs of cladding improvements, with a view to holding wealthy building developers responsible for the shortcomings and lack of safety measures in medium-rise buildings. Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove has insisted that these new measures will restore common sense to the building industry, with much greater use of risk-mitigating fire safety measures such as fire alarms and sprinklers.

Protecting blameless leaseholders from the cost of all post-Grenfell building safety defects, not just cladding, is the main objective of this legislation, implementing new statutory protection for leaseholders with the Building Safety Bill. The previously proposed loan scheme for leaseholders in medium rise flats to cover the cost of cladding replacement has been scrapped, with an emphasis on pressuring wealthy developers to remedy their mistakes and front the cost of additional safety measures, with a threat of additional taxation to developers of high rise buildings to help fund the projects nationwide.

Alongside the £4bn of developer contributions for the remediation of cladding on buildings between 11 and 18 metres, there will be an addition £27m fund to replace costly waking watch measures with fire alarm installation to keep residents safe.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, said:

“More than 4 years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the system is broken. Leaseholders are trapped, unable to sell their homes and facing vast bills. But the developers and cladding companies who caused the problem are dodging accountability and have made vast profits during the pandemic whilst hard working families have struggled. From today, we are bringing this scandal to an end – protecting leaseholders and making industry pay.

We will scrap proposals for loans and long-term debt for leaseholders in medium-rise buildings and give a guarantee that no leaseholder living in their own flat will pay a penny to fix dangerous cladding. Working with members of both Houses, we will look to bring a raft of leaseholder protections into law through our Building Safety bill. And we will restore much needed common sense on building safety assessments, ending the practice of too many buildings being declared unsafe.”

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