Leaseholders in high-rise flats to face 'no extra costs' to remove dangerous cladding

10 February 2021, 13:38 | Updated: 10 February 2021, 14:40

Housing Secretary pledges help for high-rise cladding leaseholders

By Maddie Goodfellow

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has told the Commons that leaseholders living in high rise buildings with dangerous cladding will face "no extra costs" to remove it.

Mr Jenrick promised an "unprecedented, clear plan" to fix the cladding crisis affecting thousands of homeowners.

He also pledged a "world class building safety regime" to fix the problem.

Mr Jenrick also confirmed a cladding loan scheme for buildings lower than 18 metres and explained that the Government will develop a "long term low-interest scheme to protect leaseholders."

However, anyone in a building with dangerous cladding that isn't a high rise will still need to get a loan.

Cladding crisis: Pensioner must find £7,000 for 6 months protection

The Housing Secretary told the Commons that "it was always the expectation and demand from Government that building owners would pay for the work and step up.

"That hasn't happened, so an exceptional intervention will be needed from government", he said.

Read more: MPs and mayors criticise Robert Jenrick's £3.5 billion cladding crisis funding

Read more: Cladding crisis: We've had a quote of £160,000 just to get an EWS1 form

He also said that leaseholders in high rise building will face "no costs" from this.

He said it "cannot be right that the cost of addressing these issues fall on taxpayers", and instead announced a new tax for the residential property development sector, which is expected to raise £2 billion over next 10 years.

Tory MP blasts "incompetent" Housing Secretary over cladding crisis

On lower and medium-rise blocks of flats, Mr Jenrick said: "The Government will develop a long-term scheme to protect leaseholders in this situation, with financial support for cladding remediation on buildings between four and six storeys.

"Under a long-term low-interest scheme, no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month towards the removal of unsafe cladding, many far less. Taken together this means the Government is providing more than £5 billion including a further £3.5 billion announced today plus the significant cost of the very generous financing scheme which will run for many years to come to ensure all leaseholders in medium and high-rise blocks face no costs or very low costs if cladding remediation is needed.

"Where it is, costs can still be significant for leaseholders, which is why we want to take these important steps."

Robert Jenrick said confidence will be provided to lenders, telling the Commons: "Following discussions the Chancellor and I have had with the lenders, we expect all the major banks and building societies to strongly support today's intervention, which will provide greater certainty to the market and help to restore the effective lending, purchasing and selling of properties as soon as possible.

"Taken together this exceptional intervention amounts to the largest ever Government investment in building safety."