08 Jun, 2021

MetroPM welcomes government plans to pay for removing unsafe cladding on high-rise flats

Top property management operators MetroPM today welcomed government plans to bring an end to unsafe cladding for leaseholders in high-rise buildings with a multi-billion pound intervention.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said that flammable materials will be removed from buildings over 18m high “at no cost to residents”, with those at lower levels offered loans to make their homes safe.

Ian Smallman, director of MetroPM, which has offices in Birmingham and Cheltenham and is currently dealing with blocks where cladding needs to be removed, said the government announcement was “largely good news”.

But he added that it would have been helpful for schemes over 11- metres to be included in the new measures, rather than limiting it to properties above 18-metres.

Mr Smallman said: “This government move will provide reassurance to hundreds of thousands of homeowners, boost the housing market and free up homeowners to once again buy and sell their properties.

“However, the height limit could be a challenge to those in lower blocks who may be against or even unable to afford new loans to make their home safe.”

The news comes in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell disaster, where many tower blocks were found to be unsafe, resulting in flat-owners facing huge bills for fire-safety improvements.

The government plans to help with a £3.5bn investment which comes on top of £1.6bn in funding that was announced for the removal of unsafe cladding last year.

No leaseholder with properties above 18m will pay a penny, and owners of lower-rise flats will have access to loans to replace unsafe cladding with maximum repayments of £50 a month.

This will be funded with a new levy on developers of future high rises and a separate new tax on residential property development in the UK from 2022.

Matthew Arnold, managing director at MetroPM, said: “Overall, this government action will enable the market to move on and for sales to be agreed once these funded cladding works have been completed.

“Although the scheme is sketchy and in its early days, this is a very positive move towards releasing an important sector of housing to the market after months of uncertainty and worry.”

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