Prohibition on passing remediation costs onto leaseholders and tenants

Part of Fire Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:30 pm ar 25 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Llafur, Hammersmith 3:30, 25 Mehefin 2020

I applaud the hon. Member for St Albans for bringing the matter to the Committee’s attention, although the new clause may not quite be the way to deal with the issue in law. I say that because although Government have made funds available in a drip by drip way—it is quite a substantial amount of money, so perhaps drip by drip is the wrong phrase—it is an inadequate sum to deal with the necessary remediation.

The way in which the funding relating to ACM and other types of cladding has been announced to social landlords and then private landlords has not only created some degree of confusion, but meant that there are huge gaps in terms of accessibility to funds to leaseholders and freeholders for carrying out remediation work. Therefore, landlords—not the worst landlords, necessarily; in some ways, it could be the better ones—are seeking to deal with remediation works in relation to blocks that do not fall within the fairly restrictive criteria that the Government have set. They are saying, “Yes, we will remove cladding, or do other works, but it isn’t covered by the Government’s building funds at the moment. We will therefore look, with section 20 notices or in other ways, for leaseholders to carry the costs.”

We are right to draw attention to this point, and I hope that the Minister will respond to it. He has been reading out his ministerial brief, which is all to the good because we need to put it on the record, but it would be quite good for him to respond to some of the points spontaneously made by Opposition Members.