End Hackney’s cladding scandal – Council backs campaign to support leaseholders
Hackney Council has joined an influential parliamentary committee in calling on the government to step in to ensure leaseholders and shared owners are not forced to pay the cost of making buildings with dangerous cladding safe.
The Housing, Communities & Local Government Committee – a cross-party group of MPs in the House of Commons – today published a report urging the government to ensure leaseholders should not pay anything towards the cost of historical safety defects. This follows a widespread #EndOurCladdingScandal campaign seeking proper funding for unsafe cladding identified after the Grenfell Tower fire to be removed.
Earlier this year the Council gave evidence to this committee, highlighting why the government must provide leadership and clarity for leaseholders who are unable to sell their home and are facing huge bills to remove potentially dangerous cladding.
More than three years on from the Grenfell tragedy, residents should not still be facing a battle to ensure their homes are made safe, and leaseholders and especially shared owners with no responsibility for decades of inadequate building regulations should not be bearing the brunt of the cost of this.
We do not own any buildings with cladding that needs to be replaced due to changes in building regulations. However, we are investing in new external insulation on some of our older buildings to bring them up to the highest fire safety standards, even where there has been no significant fire safety risk or legal requirement to do so, without passing the cost of this to homeowners.
But elsewhere in the borough we’ve seen too many people face astronomical bills for fire safety work, trapped in homes they cannot sell or remortgage, and raising serious issues about their safety where they live. The longer this goes on the more stress and uncertainty this scandal causes, which is why the government needs to take action now.
The Council is already leading by example in investing in fire safety in taller buildings without passing the cost on to leaseholders. New, safer external wall insulation has been fitted on five buildings, including Hugh Gaitskell House, the Nye Bevan Estate and the three buildings at Lincoln Court.
While none of the buildings receiving new cladding have had significant fire safety risks or were required to have improvements, the investment will ensure the buildings meet the same standards as buildings built or refurbished today, delivering on the Council’s commitment to going above and beyond to ensure the safety of residents.
This is part of a package of investment in fire safety across Council homes in Hackney, which also includes thousands of new safer front entrance doors, new dry risers to help the London Fire Brigade tackle incidents, and work to ensure more vulnerable residents get extra support in the event of a fire.