The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has taken a strong stance on the issue of cladding and forcing the removal and reinstatement of a safer product. For months James Brokenshire has been warning landlords of at-risk properties to get on and remove dangerous cladding.
Brokenshire announced a change to the housing health and safety regulations to force the landlords to make good these works with no apparent financial risk to the leaseholders.
The Association for Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) welcomes the move as it has been lobbying for government intervention ever since the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Immediately after the tragic fire, ARMA flagged to government the problem under leasehold as to who would likely pay for the cost of fire safety remedial works and that this could seriously delay remedial works. ARMA has publicly asked for government loans to be make available and for remediation to be taken into a national programme to avoid such delays as the safety of residents must always be the uppermost concern.
Dr Nigel Glen, chief executive office of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), said: “We congratulate the government for taking this strong approach to ensure remedial works on affected buildings can get under way immediately. People need to know they are safe and able to live their lives. We have always said time is of essence here and work should be completed first and then worry about who pays later. The costs to cladding removal has given many residents grave anxieties and now some headway should start to be made more quickly.
“The Secretary of State has said that ‘leaseholders must not pay’. We keenly await details of how that will work in practice given the structure of leasehold. For example, in the case of Citiscape in Croydon, the First tier Tribunal Property determined that the leaseholders were liable for the costs under the terms of their lease. That may well be the case across all the buildings under discussion, depending upon their leases. And where Landlords are not the guilty party re installing the cladding is it fair that they will be expected to pay? Clearly there is more work to be done but this is a welcome and significant step.”