Leaseholders of buildings with unsafe cladding but below 11m have called on the government to extend support to smaller blocks.
On Monday, the government set out amendments to its building safety bill. Developers will be blocked from the market if they do not cough up cash for a remediations fund worth billions.
However, the funding to cover works on dangerous buildings only covers those above 11m.
Chelsea Houlder is a shared ownership leaseholder of a flat covered in a high-pressure laminate (HPL) cladding and has been unable to sell her one-bed. Other flats in the development at Kings Park, in Romford, are covered in aluminium composite material (ACM), the same kind used on Grenfell Tower.
“It has been complete silence on the low-rise blocks. If remediation is needed for lower rise buildings, the funding needs to be extended to them too, Houlder told CityA.M.
“Lenders won’t touch us. People have tried to sell here and incurred all the costs of the process and then at the last minute be asked for a safety survey. There are still people unaware [of the unsafe cladding].”
Separately, it is understood the government will scrap a provision in new laws that would have meant leaseholders pay a specified charge to cover costs of the proposed new safety obligations for high rises, as first reported by Inside Housing.
The government amendments to its building safety bill will allow cladding companies to be sued for defective products.
The amendments also confirm the government’s intentions to block firms from the market if they do not financially contribute to remediations on buildings with unsafe cladding.
The department for levelling up, housing and communities announced that developers shying away from contributing to government funds will face consequences.
Under new powers, the government will be able to block planning permission and building control sign-off on developments.
Its building safety levy will be made applicable to more developments, with ministers saying there is “scope for higher rates” for firms who do not participate in solving the crisis.
Courts will be granted new powers to prevent developers using shell companies, in a bid to hold companies accountable for their actions.
Chris Warenius, legal director at law firm Harold Benjamin, said the new regulations were proof the government was “willing to attack the status quo” and losing patience with developers.
“The measures allowing the original developer to be traced, potentially years after the development has completed, also strike at one of the reasons why special purpose vehicles are used by developers – precisely in order to contain and mitigate ongoing liability,” he added.