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Leaseholders call for Government help with cladding security costs

Thursday 26 March 2020

Leaseholders in buildings cladded with flammable materials have called for support with the cost of interim safety measures during the Coronavirus crisis.

A statement was issued jointly by cladding action groups around the UK, calling on ministers to help with the costs of ‘waking watches’, in which wardens patrol the building throughout the day and night to check for fire. Waking watches are a mandatory requirement by many fire authorities in order to allow buildings to remain occupied and can reach costs of £1,000 per month for every flat in an affected building.


The cost is currently met by leaseholders in many privately rented buildings. As people self-isolate due to the viral pandemic, cladding action groups claim that leaseholders are struggling to meet these costs.

Quote mark

The COVID-19 outbreak is the biggest public health challenge for a generation. We acknowledge the huge strain this rapidly changing crisis will place on government and the number of people who will require support as a result of it.

Nonetheless, the situation is particularly critical for many leaseholders in buildings with dangerous cladding. The huge additional and ongoing costs that many leaseholders have to pay as a result of living in dangerous cladding blocks means they face an impossible decision about work and self-isolation. No income means no ability to pay for the waking watch the building needs for them to stay in that building.

As these costs are not currently within the scope of the £1bn fund announced in the Budget, additional help is urgently required. For us, self-isolating means returning to a building which is a potential death trap. With many more people working at home or not able to work at all, they will be spending much more time in buildings where there are grave concerns about safety.


Leasehold action groupsJoint statement

 

The waking watch costs are in addition to insurance premiums at many buildings, neither of which are covered by recent budget provisions which are for the removal of existing cladding only.

The National Fire Chiefs Council has issued guidelines to building owners and managers on measures to take if they are worried about the suitability of waking watches during the national lockdown for COVID-19.

LEASEHOLD: A LIFE SENTENCE?

Propertymark has campaigned on issues surrounding leasehold sales, calling for the government to change the laws surrounding leasehold and establish a New Homes Ombudsman.

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CORONAVIRUS

Propertymark is keeping our members up to date with the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis. Look out for updates on our news pages. 

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