The effectiveness of the Government’s response to the cladding issue has been called into question again by property managers. Examination of applicants to the Waking Watch Relief Fund revealed nearly half of the fund is unclaimed, due to difficulty in qualifying.
The Waking Watch Relief Fund is a £30 million pound fund to pay for the costs of installing alarm systems in buildings with unsafe cladding. To be eligible, ‘higher-risk’ buildings must be in the private sector, have unsafe cladding installed, be over 17.7 meters in height, and have a waking watch in place where the cost of introducing this safety mechanism have been passed onto leaseholders.
New statistics reveal a significant decline in applications from the first window (213) to the second (60). Only seven applications in the second window have been successful, vis-a-vis 119 in the first window. This equates to £0.9m of funding, and thus far only £16.5m of funding has been drawn out of the £30m fund.
Mary-Anne Bowring (right), group managing director at Ringley, commented on the findings. “We have to question the extent to which the Waking Watch Relief Fund is working for vulnerable leaseholders when only seven applications have been successful in recent months.
“The installation of Waking Watch alarms costs leaseholders an estimated £110 per month in London. In the eyes of leaseholders it must feel like they’re paying out of pocket for every aspect of building safety remediation. The presumption should be in favour of approving these types of applications when they provide one of the few extra layers of safety that leaseholders genuinely do not have to fork out for.”