Closed petition Protect leaseholders from paying for cladding remedial works

The Draft Building Safety Bill currently proposes a Building Safety Charge payable by leaseholders for cladding remedial works. This should be removed and public funds made available to protect citizens through appropriate safety standards, and Freeholders should also be made to contribute.

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Currently leaseholders are living in homes/flats which are unsafe, unsellable, and face paying for something which was not their fault. The government should take responsibility for failing to create and uphold appropriate fire safety standards and provide funds to make buildings safe and kick-start the construction industry. Freeholders should also ultimately be responsible for removing this unsafe cladding.

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Government responded

This response was given on 24 November 2020

The proposed Building Safety Charge intends to cover building safety measures, such as a building safety manager, and is designed to ensure that costs are transparent and reasonable for leaseholders.

Read the response in full

The Government believes people should be safe and feel safe in their own home. Learning the lessons from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Government is committed to bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

The Building Safety Bill, building on the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety is an important part of delivering on this commitment. The Bill will create a new Building Safety Regulator and a more stringent regime for high-risk buildings, with better accountability and clear duties for those responsible for the safety of buildings. It also gives residents a stronger voice in the system, ensuring their concerns are never ignored.

As part of these reforms the Building Safety Bill will introduce a Building Safety Charge, which will give leaseholders greater transparency around costs incurred in maintaining a safe building, while ensuring any costs are proportionate and fair.

We expect that the charge will pay for a building safety manager, legal fees, safety case production costs, reporting, safety management, resident engagement and complaints processes. The Bill provides powers to enable Government to limit the building safety costs that can be recharged to leaseholders. The Government may also prescribe costs to be excluded in regulations and leaseholders will have the ability to challenge costs at the first-tier property tribunal.

The Government is clear that it is the responsibility of the building owner to ensure the safety of residents and has called on them to protect leaseholders from these costs. In many cases building owners and freeholders can meet these costs by claiming on insurance policies or warranties, taking legal action or from their own resources.

In more than half of the cases where there was unsafe Grenfell style Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding on a private sector residential block, the costs have been met in this way. In the remaining cases, the Government has stepped in and provided £600m in funding to remove this cladding.

The Government wants to see buildings remediated at pace. Through engagement with buildings owners 79% of all high-rise buildings with unsafe ACM cladding have either started or completed remediation, rising to 97% in the social housing sector. Government intervention has meant that despite the challenges of the pandemic over 100 buildings have started work on site in 2020– more than in the whole of 2019. The Government has been clear that there are no more excuses for ACM remediation delays. Where building owners have still failed to act, despite support and funding, we have been clear that they should expect to face enforcement action. 

We are aware that where developers and building owners have chosen not to take responsibility, leaseholders have been faced with excessive costs. The Government announced £1bn of funding to remediate other dangerous types of cladding in high rise blocks in Spring 2020, in order to support the remediation of more buildings at pace. The Government remains determined to protect leaseholders from unaffordable remediation costs and when publishing the bill for pre-legislative scrutiny we made it clear that this is a topic that we are committed to considering further and will update on this work before the Building Safety Bill is introduced to Parliament.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Other parliamentary business

Urgent Question asked in House of Commons about the removal of dangerous cladding

On Tuesday 24 November there was an Urgent Question put to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, asking if he would make a statement on whether leaseholders are expected to pay for the removal of dangerous cladding from their homes.

You can watch the response from Christopher Pincher MP, Minister for Housing, and further questions on the topic here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/98e1ca38-ef74-48ed-a82c-3dae8c2334e5?in=12:40:48&out=14:10:00

What is an Urgent Question?

If an urgent or important matter arises which an MP believes requires an immediate answer from a government minister, they may apply to ask an urgent question.

Find out more about Urgent Questions here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/urgent-questions/

MPs to debate the Building Safety Fund

MPs will debate the Building Safety Fund on Wednesday 20 January in the main House of Commons chamber. This is an Adjournment debate, determined by the Speaker.

Adjournment debates are half-hour debates at the end of each day's sitting. They are an opportunity for an individual backbench MP to raise an issue and receive a response from the relevant Minister, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start at around 7.00pm, after the conclusion of the humble address on the Electoral Commission.

Watch here on Wednesday: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/63b12edb-9f6a-4438-8a0e-5910e245c1c2

Find out more about how Adjournment debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/adjournment/

MPs to debate protecting tenants and leaseholders from unsafe cladding

MPs will debate protecting tenants and leaseholders from unsafe cladding on Monday 1 February in the main House of Commons chamber. This is an Opposition day debate, on a motion determined by the Leader of the Opposition.

Opposition days are days allocated in the House of Commons for the discussion of subjects chosen by the opposition (non-government) parties.

Watch the debate here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/a6ac5191-f789-42ba-a63f-71e9c65ffbb6

Find out more about Opposition days: https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/opposition-days/

Ministerial statement on building safety

On Wednesday 10 February, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP gave a statement to the House of Commons on building safety.

The Government have also published further information on new measures to bring an end to unsafe cladding and provide reassurance to homeowners and confidence to the housing market: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-bring-an-end-to-unsafe-cladding-with-multi-billion-pound-intervention

You can watch the statement here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/1145a875-5853-49d1-b606-a7abb5e83272?in=12:40:20

Read the transcript here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-02-10/debates/010B9751-BCBE-48F5-AEEC-6F3416777D73/BuildingSafety

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House, often at short notice. You can find out more about them here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/statements/

MPs to debate residential leaseholders and interim fire safety costs

MPs will debate residential leaseholders and interim fire safety costs on Wednesday 10 March in Westminster Hall.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start at 9.25am and last up to an hour and a half.

Watch the debate: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/cc3ee26b-ec8a-4ba1-9ca9-431f9a21501d

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/

Further information

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on "Leasehold high-rise flats: who pays for fire safety work?", which you can read here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8244/

Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee continues to investigate cladding issues

A group of MPs called the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee continues to investigate issues relating to cladding remediation.

On 21 May the Chair of the Committee, Clive Betts MP, wrote to the Government asking what they were doing to support the implementation of new Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS) guidance on whether an EWS1 form should be required for a particular building, and what action the Government would take if mortgage lenders continue to require EWS1 forms for buildings that do not meet RICS criteria.

You can read the full letter here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5990/documents/67920/default/

This correspondence follows two reports by the Committee on cladding remediation, which have looked at progress in removing potentially dangerous cladding from high-rise and high-risk buildings, the adequacy of funding by the Government, and the steps that are being taken to ensure that leaseholders and tenants are protected from bearing the costs of historical building safety defects.

You can read the Committee's first report on cladding remediation, published in June 2020, here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/1438/documents/13153/default/

The Government responded to the Committee's report in September 2020, and you can read their response here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/2404/documents/46718/default/

You can read the Committee's follow-up report, published in April 2021, here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5702/documents/56234/default/

The Committee has also scrutinised draft legislation to improve building and fire safety. You can read their pre-legislative scrutiny report of the Building Safety Bill here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/3605/documents/35262/default/

Follow the Committee on Twitter for updates: @CommonsHCLG

What is the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee?

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee is a group of MPs which scrutinises the policy, administration and spending of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

It's a cross-party Committee and is independent of the Government. You can find out more about the Committee on the UK Parliament website:
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/17/housing-communities-and-local-government-committee
 
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c