It’s been a year since Housing Secretary Michael Gove declared that was “morally wrong” that leaseholders should pay to fix unsafe buildings but campaigners have questioned how much has achieved.
Many flat owners have been unable to sell their properties, with lenders unwilling to lend on homes with unsafe cladding.
The Government has tried to address this with the he Building Safety Act, which received Royal Assent in April 2022 and introduced a “waterfall” where developers had to pay first for any repairs, followed by building owners.
Costs should only fall on leaseholders where building owners need support covering the full costs of remediation of a building.
Trade bodies UK Finance, the Building Societies Association (BSA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) issued a joint statement at the end of the year that clarified that six mortgage lenders will lend on properties with building safety issues.
The largest mortgage lenders Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, NatWest and Santander, have all confirmed they will lend on buildings in England above 11m in height that will be remediated by the developers that built them or are in a government-funded remediation scheme or are covered by the leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities put a statement out on Twitter yesterday that said: “Progress has been made to protect people affected by building safety issues in the past 12 months but more must be done.
“We are determined to make sure buildings are fixed, leaseholders get a fair deal and industry does the right thing in 2023.”
But activists from the End Our Cladding Scandal group said while some progress has been made, “much more must be done.”
Campaigners say homeowners in building under 11m with ACM cladding are unfairly excluded and continue to pay more expensive mortgages without a hope of re-mortgaging or selling.
MPs also questioned Housing Minister Lucy Frazer in Parliament this week on a lack of protection for existing leaseholders despite proposals from the Law Commission on making the leasehold extension and purchase process more fair.
Frazer said: “We will be bringing forward legislation in this Parliament to make valuations easier for those extending their leases, to make the lease extension experience easier and cheaper, to make it quicker for freeholders to take control of the management of their buildings with a right to manage and a number of other measures.”