Cladding crisis: 'My cladding bill is worth more than my flat,' says health professional

2 February 2022, 10:18 | Updated: 2 February 2022, 11:18

Rachael Loftus is facing a cladding bill for her flat that is worth more than the property itself
Rachael Loftus is facing a cladding bill for her flat that is worth more than the property itself. Picture: Rachael Loftus
Rachael Venables

By Rachael Venables

Rachael Loftus bought her flat in Leeds for £89,000.

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But, earlier this week she received a personal bill of more than £117,000 to fix the myriad of her block's building safety issues, including flammable cladding, found there since the Grenfell Tragedy.

Rachael, who is head of regional health and care partnerships in West Yorkshire, said it's an extortionate sum of money and she has no idea how she can hope to pay.

Read more: Grenfell survivors slam 'shocking' plan for tower with same fire strategy next to building

Read more: 'Developers must fix their own buildings': Gove vows to end cladding scandal

She's already spent £15,000 on waking watches and hiked building insurance; and ever since the building safety failings were discovered two years ago, her flat has been valued at 'zero'.

She told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that when the Government first promised billions of pounds to replace cladding in high rise buildings like hers, "I cried with relief because I thought that was it over."

Fire safety 'much more sophisticated' than just cladding

But far from it. Two years later, they're still waiting to hear if they are even eligible for that funding.

Even if successful, the Government money from the Building Safety Fund only covers cladding, about half of the issues that need fixing in her block, the rest will fall on her and her neighbours to split the cost.

"If even one of them can't pay and go bankrupt, then the rest of their shares fall on us."

Read more: Michael Gove admits not knowing how many buildings are affected by the cladding crisis

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She put a question to Michael Gove, asking if he really understood the hell she and thousands of others are living though.

The Housing Secretary accepted: "There's much more we need to do.

"I've had meetings with developers, cladding manufacturers, I've told them they need to contributed to make sure people like Rachael don't have to pay these bills. And we'll legislate if necessary."