Homeowners and activists cautiously welcome lowering of coatings | Lodging

Housing activists and MPs cautiously welcomed plans to pressure developers to cover the cost of removing hazardous coatings from buildings over 11 meters tall, but warned they were not going far enough.

In an apparent descent, housing secretary Michael Gove is expected to announce that tenants in buildings between 11 and 18 meters (36-60 feet) in height will no longer have to take out loans to cover costs. Instead, Gove will try to charge developers £ 4bn, leak says Letter from the Treasury reported by BBC Newsnight.

Under rules introduced in England after the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people in 2017, only tenants in buildings over 18 meters can access grants to replace hazardous coatings.

However, enthusiasm will be tempered as the Treasury letter stating that funding approval only applies to the siding attachment. This means that tenants who face invoices for a faulty fire compartment, fire doors and other non-siding defects still face invoices and the uncertainty of whether the companies mortgages will lend on their homes so that they are salable.

In addition, there is no new money. The £ 4 billion could all come from existing housing service budgets, the letter said.

Plus, it only threatens a developer tax or legal action – who have so far failed to charge developers to fix broken buildings.

Giles Grover, co-leader of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign, said it was “another step in the right direction” but that they need to see the details as well as the action on the ground. “You can talk about additional funding and positive measures, but it takes so long to make buildings safe. “

He also called for legal protection for tenants. “We need legislation to protect us, this is how we will get certainty.”

Grover said his group was meeting with Gove on Monday morning when he said they “would see what he had to say.” He said that during Gove’s short time in the role he had done a lot more than his predecessor Robert Jenrick, but cautioned: “We always have to see the money on the pitch coming out.”

Another campaign spokesperson, Paul Afshar, said he welcomed the news but said “the devil is in the details”.

“Obviously, this is good news. I myself live in a building that is less than 18 meters and previously there was nothing in place in terms of financial support… I am cautiously optimistic about this. We need to see the exact details about it in terms of the scope of what it’s going to cover and how much money is going to be set aside.

Steph Pike, lawyer, tenant and activist, tweeted: “It’s another ad without any real substance. How is Gove going to “make developers pay” without legislating for it? What about non-cladding fire safety defects? Who pays them? No more spinning. No more words. No real action.

The leaked letter to Gove from Chief Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke said loans for small buildings would be replaced with a “limited grants program.”

“You can use a high-level ‘threat’ of tax or legal solutions in discussions with developers as a way to get voluntary contributions from them,” he says.

“I am glad to see that you recognize the principle that the taxpayer should not be held responsible for the additional costs of remediation. I repeat, my approval of this new package for buildings of 11 to 18 m is therefore conditional on the absence of new funding from the Treasury.

Peter Bottomley, senior Conservative MP and co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on lease and condominium reform, urged the government to do more.

“From what we are hearing, progress is being made – it is not enough,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

“We have to get the money, spend it properly, and we have to overcome the barrier of ‘compensation funding so that owners can make claims with developers and manufacturers,” he said.

The government must tell insurance companies to “come forward with, say, £ 8billion and then innocent tenants will live in safe and salable homes”.

Matthew Pennycook, Labor shadow housing minister, said: “Any new measures that help address the building safety crisis are welcome, but at first glance these seem much less important than there is. appears.

“Nothing on the defects other than the coating, no new levy for the developers and the position on the liability of the tenant unchanged. We are awaiting more details.

An announcement on the measures is expected on Monday.

A spokesperson for the Upgrading, Housing and Communities Department said: “We would not comment on the speculation.”

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