Today, Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston in Birmingham has written to the Government’s Building Safety Minister pointing out the glaring omissions to their plans when it comes to protecting leaseholders from exorbitant fire safety costs.
While the Government asserts that they have told building owners and industry that they should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders, that is not what is happening to the hundreds of thousands of leaseholders who are being caught up in this crisis.
In her letter to Lord Greenhalgh, Ms Gill provides the clear example from her constituency of Hemisphere Apartments. The building has a number of fire safety issues that require urgent remedial work that is estimated to cost £13.8 million – roughly £40,000 per flat. Like the 100 other buildings in Birmingham, last year they applied to the Government’s Building Safety Fund but are yet to receive a penny of funding.
Citing comments from the developer of Hemisphere Apartments, Redrow plc, which noted that the company had set aside £20m to support “half a dozen or so legacy schemes” with cladding costs, Ms Gill wrote to them on behalf of her constituents to ask for support to get remedial works off the ground.
Redrow has responded to pleas for help for leaseholders saying “Redrow is not prepared to offer any financial support at this stage”, citing “the Secretary of State’s commitment to fund necessary fire safety works on high-rise buildings, and to recover the costs through levies and taxes on developers such as ourselves” as one of the reasons why they won’t help.
Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston said, “This exchange shows exactly how leaseholders are caught between a rock and a hard place.
“Four years on from the Grenfell tragedy, the Government’s building safety plan is still failing to get remediation works off the ground, while leaseholders in my constituency are paying out hundreds of thousands of pounds in waking watch fees and skyrocketing insurance premiums while they wait.
“Today, there are votes in the House of Commons on amendments to the Fire Safety Bill which would protect leaseholders from having to pay to fix a crisis they didn’t create. It is crucial for leaseholders right across the UK that MPs stand up for what is right to protect the innocent leaseholders.”
To read the full letter, click here.