SLC urges Government to act on cladding

The Society of Licensed Conveyancers has urged the government to take urgent action to protect all those affected by the cladding scandal in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster. 

Board Member and former Chairman John Clay has written an open letter to the Secretary of State Michael Gove urging immediate action to support all those affected.

In the letter, Mr Clay writes

“The Government must step in and pay for all remedial costs to rectify the failures of past administrations to protect owners and leaseholders of high rise apartments.”

“The remedial costs from Government intervention, should it step in, could be claimed back from the developers who are responsible for the current mess.”

“The Government has committed to building 300,000 new homes every year – surely the priority must be to make existing homes safe?”

It is estimated that at least 500,000 people live in high rise buildings where major work is necessary to make the properties safe. The cost of remediation per flat is frequently quoted around £50,000. Prosecution by leaseholders against developers is unrealistic. Any such cases would be complex, involving huge legal costs. Action against the developer would involve many parties: the main contractor, the architect, suppliers, subcontractors, advisors, and in the case of Grenfell, the TMO and the Council.

Earlier this week the government announced a consultation on the implementation of a “Residential Property Developer Tax” (RPDT) which is aimed at funding the remediation costs of replacing dangerous cladding on leasehold properties. Alongside the Building Safety Bill, which is making its way through Parliament, the Tax is part of the Government’s response to the inaction of developers to make safe buildings at risk.

The SLC acknowledge that the Government of the day failed to introduce the necessary regulations when warned of the danger, suggesting it falls to the current Government to take responsibility and pay for all the remediation.

There is long term risk to inaction beyond the safety issues as high rise blocks could be come “blighted for years” in cases where mortgage payments are not maintained, and repossessed flat are unsaleable resulting in banks being unable to recover lending.

There is also a suggestion that the situation is creating a problem in the housing market as many of the properties involved are first time buyer occupied. As these are currently unsaleable there will be a shortfall of entry properties for first time buyers, which will cause prices of other flats in low rise properties to increase making it even harder to get onto the property ladder.

The Society’s correspondence ends with a cleare call to action.

To reiterate: ACTION IS NEEDED NOW! Up to a million leaseholders could be affected

Read the open letter in full – CLICK HERE

Read the supporting evidence – CLICK HERE

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