The Labour Party yesterday tabled an opposition motion in which they called for greater, more widespread measures to try and tackle the ongoing crisis facing millions of homeowners across the country in respect of their unsafe cladding.  Edwin Coe has previously provided blogs on this topic here and here.

It has been three and a half years since the Grenfell Tower disaster but yet there is still a huge amount of work that needs to be done in remediating unsafe cladding on blocks of flats.  Labour said today that some 4.6 million properties and 11 million residents still live in blocks with unsafe cladding and called for the urgent implementation by the Government of an independent task force to investigate the issues surrounding cladding, as well as other fire safety hazards that are emerging within blocks of flats and also with some new build houses.

Labour went on to say that some 16% of the housing market is now in effect locked-up by cladding issues, and many flat owners often will be unable to move or re-mortgage their property without an ESW1 form certifying their building as safe.  If a survey finds that there is unsafe cladding on a building which needs to be remediated, then flat owners are often forced to pick up the bill for these costs through their service charge, along with waking watch costs and other temporary mitigation measures that are employed.

Whilst the Government has implemented various funds to try and assist building owners, notably the Building Safety Fund and the Waking Watch Relief Fund (both of which only cover buildings in excess of 18m in height), it remains to be seen whether the Government will extend the scope of the funds available, and especially in respect of those property owners whose blocks are below 18 metres in height. The Government today said that they intended to bring about fundamental reform to the building regulation frame work to ensure that those who develop buildings are placed under greater obligations to ensure their buildings are safe, but stated that Government alone cannot solely be responsible for dealing with the cladding problem. It remains to be seen if and when the Government will implement any further assistance to leaseholders, in the coming months, but we do expect further announcements from the Government in coming weeks.

Edwin Coe has considerable experience in dealing with cladding and new build defect cases as well as other issues surrounding fire safety in blocks of flats and houses.  Should you require assistance in this area, then please do contact Joanna Osborne from our Property Litigation team.


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