• Yesterday, the Government announced that it would make a fund of around £200 million available to cover the cost of removing and replacing unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from privately owned high-rise residentials above 18 metres in height.

    This comes as a welcome relief to many leaseholders who are living in fear after the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.  Following the fire, concerns were raised about the adequacy of Building Regulations in relation to high rise buildings. On 21 December 2018 the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI2018/1230) came into force banning the use of combustible materials in the external walls of high-rise buildings.

    After the fire, it was noted that some 457 residential blocks and public buildings had dangerous cladding. Concerns were raised about replacing this cladding, safeguarding measures until the cladding is replaced and who would pay for it.

    In relation to privately owned blocks, long leaseholders could be liable to pay a contribution towards the remedial work depending on the wording of their individual leases. This could also include paying for an interim measure of a waking watch which is a fire watch by an appropriately trained patrolling security officer or warden, to ensure the safety of residents pending the removal of the cladding

    Some cases put before the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chambers) including Firstport Property Services Ltd v Various leaseholders of Citiscape LON/00AH/LSC/2017/0434 and E & J Ground Rents No 11 LLP v Various Leaseholders of Fresh Apartments Salford found that the leaseholders were liable for footing the cost of replacing the cladding and the waking watch.

    It has been identified that only 10 privately owned buildings have replaced the cladding. Following action group campaigns, the Government announced yesterday that it will make a fund of around £200 million available to cover the full cost of removing and replacing unsafe ACM cladding from high-rise buildings above 18 metres in height. It is a condition of the funding that the landlords take reasonable steps to recover the cost from those responsible for the presence of the cladding.

    Early information indicates that building owners will be able to register by early July and will have three months to access the fund.

    Contact our Residential Property team for any advice and guidance on property related enquiries.

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