Latest News

Government announces rise in new homes built last year

20 January 2021

Figures published in January 2021 show a 111 per cent increase in housebuilding in England from July to September 2020 compared with the previous quarter. Data for the same period also show a quarterly rise of 185 per cent more dwellings completed. Read More...

Winter weather precautions

20 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher offers practical steps that can help agents and their clients reduce the risk of damage to property as areas of the nation are set to see further warnings of more inclement weather to come. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption. Read More...

New Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme

19 January 2021

First-time buyers looking to purchase a home in England will continue to receive Government support under the revised Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme (2021-2023), which is now open for applications with buyers able to move into their new properties from 1 April 2021. Read More...

Further calls to Government to extend Stamp Duty cut

15 January 2021

A group of 50 Conservative MPs are calling on the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak to extend the stamp duty cut for properties worth less than £500,000 a further 12 months in a major boost alongside The Telegraph’s ‘Stamp Out the Duty’ campaign. Read More...

New £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund announced

Wednesday 23 December 2020

To help end the excessive waking watch costs and support thousands of residents, the Government fund will pay for the installation of fire alarm systems in high-rise buildings with cladding, removing or reducing the need for the costly interim measures.

The National Fire Chiefs Council has been clear in the guidance that building owners should move to install common fire alarm systems as quickly as possible to reduce or remove dependence on waking watches.

A six-month extension to the deadline for building owners to complete their applications to the £1 billion Building Safety Fund has also been announced - with a new deadline for submissions of 30 June 2021.

Leaseholders

The steps will help leaseholders who may have faced high costs for interim safety measures by providing financial support and delivering a better, long term fire safety system in their buildings.

The Government has already made to support leaseholders including securing an agreement that owners of flats in buildings without cladding do not need an EWS1 form to sell or re-mortgage their property, which will benefit nearly 450,000 homeowners.

Building safety

All these measures are part of the Government’s commitment to improving the safety of buildings across the country which will be protected by law through the Building Safety Bill in 2021. Some buildings have already installed these systems due to the significant savings this offers, with leaseholders in those buildings, who on average were paying £137 per month for a waking watch, expected to collectively save over £3 million per month.

The same research shows the wide range in costs faced by leaseholders and evidence of disproportionate charges – the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is writing to Trading Standards asking them to use their powers to investigate.

View announcement

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I’ve heard first-hand from leaseholders the misery that rip-off waking watch costs have been bringing to residents of high-rise buildings with cladding. We have continued to prioritise the removal of unsafe ACM cladding throughout the pandemic and expect around 95 per cent of remediation work will have been completed or be underway by the end of this year.

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Housing Secretary

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The cost of 24-hour fire safety patrols is an expense that flat owners simply cannot afford. Although this fund is a step in the right direction and will go some way in helping leaseholders introduce a longer-term safety solution, it’s a massive issue that is accelerating, and therefore more funding of more significant levels be required to help all leaseholders in this situation.

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
Propertymark Chief Policy Advisor