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Legal News in Property – Grenfell Tower Investigation

After an extensive review, thousands of developments were found to have dangerous cladding and other safety issues in inspections prompted by the Grenfell disaster.

Many leaseholders found they were legally responsible for huge bills to fix the problems, while others were unable to sell as banks refused to lend without expensive remedial work.

As a result of the review, developers have pledged to pay a combined £5bn to fix buildings with dangerous cladding and other fire safety issues, according to the housing secretary.

Thirty-five of the UK's biggest housebuilders have signed an agreement to pay a minimum of £2bn to fix their buildings.

Another £3bn is expected to be raised through an expansion to the Building Safety Levy that will be chargeable on all new residential buildings in England.

Announcing the move, Michael Gove warned those who do not sign up to the voluntary pledge could be banned from new construction.

A previous scheme was limited and only provided financial help for people in buildings over 18m.The new agreement will see homebuilders fix all buildings over 11m they have developed over the last 30 years - still apparently leaving people in lower-rise homes exposed. Major builders have signed the agreement, which the government says will become legally enforceable. It includes a pledge to "act as quickly as possible to fix buildings" and for the firms to "regularly report to leaseholders and government on their progress".

Developers who refuse to participate - or those that break the agreement - "will face consequences" that could include being blocked from building any more homes, said a statement by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Buildings will also be fixed if the company responsible can't be traced, with the cash coming from £3bn expected to be clawed back over a decade via the Building Safety Levy. It will "ensure no leaseholder in medium-rise buildings faces crippling bills", the government's statement said.

Tracey Matthews at TMT adds “The change of approach gives leaseholders peace of mind for safety reasons as well as financial security in their biggest asset. We welcome the long overdue move by the Government to avoid any instances of the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower from happening again”

For all your legal property needs contact TMT on 023 8254 7600


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