Social landlords should remediate blocks ‘without increasing rent' | News

The Residents' Network Strip

The Residents' Network

Social landlords should remediate blocks ‘without increasing rent'

Government has responded to a Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee report, stating that the funding they have provided is sufficient.

The £1.6bn Building Safety Fund has come under scrutiny for not being enough money to remediate all blocks in the country, as well as not covering all fire safety defects.

That was raised in a report by the HCLG Committee, which government has now responded to.

They state that “we do not and should not expect the taxpayer to have to cover all remediation costs for unsafe cladding”.

They add that over 50% of privately owned high-rise residential buildings with ACM cladding “will be paid for by building owners and developers” and no costs should be passed onto residents.

The response adds: “And where funding alone has not been enough to increase the pace of remediation, we have provided direct expert support to projects.

“Where building owners have still failed to act, despite support, we have supported enforcement action and have made it clear that we are not ruling anything out in our mission to keep residents safe.”

However, campaigners and MPs from across the country have complained that government is not doing enough to make buildings safe. This includes the new Draft Building Safety Bill, which drew heavy criticism from both leaseholders and trade bodies.

But government defended the new bill, saying: “In bringing forward this new legislation, we are clear that, while it is right that leaseholders should pay for the upkeep of their own homes and the buildings containing their homes, as all homeowners do, they should be protected as far as possible from unaffordable costs arising from past safety defects.”

It adds that Michael Wade, senior adviser to the Cabinet Office, will be looking into “historical remedial works” and any further measures will be outlined in before the final Building Safety Bill is introduced to parliament.

Responded specifically to the HCLG recommendations, that call for more funding to be provided by government to remediate blocks, the government has said its funding “should not be the only means of remediating high-rise residential buildings with unsafe non-ACM cladding systems”.

Adding: “Building owners should meet the costs without passing them on to leaseholders wherever possible; through their own resources, or by recovering costs from applicable warranty schemes - or from the developers or contractors who were responsible for the installation of unsafe cladding.”

Setting out its plans for the social housing sector, the government commit to helping those who would otherwise pass costs onto leaseholders.

However, “in providing these funds, the Government expects social landlords to cover the remainder of remediation costs without increasing rent for their social tenants,” they say.

The response also sets out how “the Department will fund work where remediation costs threaten the financial viability of the private registered provider, or where they would leave a local authority’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to go into deficit, which is prohibited by law.”