Good news for leasehold property owners in high rise buildings…

The Government has set out a new plan to protect leasehold property owners in high rise buildings against the extortionate costs of the cladding crisis.

The Grenfell Tower was constructed in 1974, with the top 20 storeys consisted of 120 flats, with six flats on each floor. In 2016-2017, the commercial premises in the first four storeys were converted into flats. The renovation saw the installation of new windows and new cladding with thermal insulation as part of the works.

On the 14 June 2017, a devastating fire broke out in the kitchen of one of the fourth-floor apartments as a result of a malfunctioning fridge-freezer. The cladding product used on the tower, aluminium composite material (ACM), was held to be the primary cause of the spread of the fire.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the UK Government commissioned engineer Dame Judith Hackitt to undertake an independent review of building regulations and fire safety. According the to report published by Hackitt, the Local Authority and Central Government bodies ‘knew or ought to have known’ that management of the tower was inadequate. It was recommended that the Government identify all residential buildings over 18m tall or 6 storeys in order to identify the type of cladding used in each instance.

On the 10 January 2022, the Government published a press release detailing their proposals to overcome the cladding crisis, with Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove stating:

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.

Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-new-plan-to-protect-leaseholders-and-make-industry-pay-for-the-cladding-crisis