Developers must pay full cost of removing dangerous cladding, insists Gove

Minister ‘disappointed’ that the industry has not put forward a funding solution for medium-rise buildings.


Developers must pay for work to remove dangerous cladding from medium-rise buildings, according to Housing Secretary Michael Gove, reiterating his position to the Home Builders Federation.

He says he is “disappointed” that the industry has not put forward a funding solution to cover the full cost of remediation on buildings between 11 and 18 metres.

And he adds that if they do not come up with a “fully funded” plan, he will impose one on them.

In a letter to Stewart Baseley, executive chairman Home Builders Federation, he says “your current proposal falls short of full and unconditional self-remediation that I and leaseholders will expect us to agree.

“I expect all developers to emulate the most responsible firms and commit to full self-remediation of unsafe buildings without added conditions or qualifications.

“If an agreement is not reached by the end of March, I have been clear that government will impose a solution in law and have taken powers to impose this solution through the Building Safety Bill.”

NRLA demands rethink

Meanwhile landlords are demanding a rethink on the Government’s decision not to offer compensation to buy-to-let investors owning more than property.

Under the Building Safety Bill now going through parliament, only landlords with one property, in addition to their own home, are covered by plans for developers to pay for removal work on medium-rise buildings (11-18 metres high).

Any investor with two or more properties could be left facing bills of tens of thousands of pounds to remove the dangerous cladding that led to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Landlords in high-rise buildings over 18 metres are covered by the Government’s Building Safety Fund.

Conservative peer Lord Naseby introduced an amendment to the bill in the House of Lords that would have seen all owners compensated, but despite cross-party support, the amendment was withdrawn.

‘Not the intention to be duly unfair’

Lord Greenhalgh claddingLord Greenhalgh (left) for the Government acknowledged the “very real examples of leaseholders with narrow, not broad, shoulders who may have a certain amount of property in their retirement portfolio and have chosen to invest in property as a way of guaranteeing their income in old age… I do not think it is the intention of the Government to be unduly unfair on those people.”

However, he didn’t clarify how they might be helped. Lord Greenhalgh did confirm that buy-to-let landlords are eligible for grants from the Building Safety Fund on high-rise buildings, “irrespective of how many properties they own”.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has written to Lord Greenhalgh following the debate to request a meeting.

NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle said: “It makes no sense for the government to treat landlord leaseholders so differently to owner-occupiers. Both groups have faced the same problems at the hands of developers, and therefore both should be treated equally.”

What's your opinion?

Back to top button