Just last month, I wrote about how some owners of high-rise buildings with Grenfell Tower-style cladding (aluminium composite material, known as ACM) were attempting to recover the cost of the recladding from the owners of the flats.
However, today, the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire has announced a Government u-turn on the position regarding the recladding of privately-owned, high-rise buildings. They will now fund the replacement ACM cladding on high-rise buildings around the country. This will come as a welcome announcement to the thousands of people who own flats in these buildings who had been facing potentially astronomical bills.
What was the position before?
The Government agreed fairly early on to pay for recladding on local authority buildings with ACM cladding. However, in terms of privately-owned buildings, it encouraged building owners to pay for recladding works themselves; or to seek to recover the costs of this from the original building developer. While some have done this, there are many examples of landlords attempting to recover huge costs from the flat owners.
According to the Government’s press release, after the Grenfell disaster, it identified 176 privately-owned high-rise buildings with ACM cladding. To date, 166 of these buildings are yet to start works on replacing the cladding. This means that potentially thousands of people are living in unsafe circumstances. In comparison, all but 23 of the local authority high-rise buildings have new, safe, cladding.
The government today announced that it had set up a £200 million fund to cover the works on the remaining privately-owned high-rise buildings. This follows months of campaigning by various groups. The owners of the buildings will then be expected to try to recoup the cost from those originally responsible for the unsafe cladding.
The intention is now that building owners will carry the works out swiftly, leaving the occupiers much safer.
This is of course excellent news for the occupiers of the flats in nearly 170 buildings around the country. However, it is not the end of the story. Unfortunately, people in buildings that have a different style of cladding but that is also potentially unsafe will not be covered. Likewise, those in buildings that are under 18 metres tall (the definition of “high-rise” used here). Whether funding will be provided for these buildings too remains to be seen. Certainly, campaigning continues in relation to these other buildings.
If you have any queries regarding the recladding of your block of flats, contact our property disputes specialists. Call us today on 0800 988 7756 for a free initial chat.