The security of skyscrapers has been under scrutiny ever since a massive fire at Grenfell Tower killed dozens of people.
The government has now resolved to take fresh action to highlight the burden on the lessees, who are facing eye-watering costs for the reform work so far.
It added that developers will not hesitate to impose a tax to kill those responsible for the dangerous cladding if companies do not voluntarily take steps to fix security flaws.
Here’s a look at the plans so far:
A spotlight was cast on the use of flammable materials in the construction of high-rise buildings after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 killed 72 people.
Many leaseholders are facing potentially catastrophic bills after discovering that the cladding on their homes could be dangerous.
Some have been hit with costs in excess of £100,000 to replace allegedly unsafe materials or to pay for so-called “wake watches”, where someone is employed to patrol a building to investigate a fire. goes.
– What action has been taken so far?
In February 2021, the government announced a multi-billion-pound package to ensure that no lessees in high-rise blocks in England face charges for removing cladding.
The measures were intended to protect those who have homes in high-rise buildings.
They mean that lessees in blocks higher than 18 m (59 ft) in height can obtain a grant to replace unprotected cladding.
For those who have houses in small buildings, so far the case has been different.
For blocks between 11 m and 18 m (36 ft and 59 ft), the government said in February that it would introduce a “long-term, low-interest” loan scheme, under which “any lessee at any time could raise up to £1 per month”. Will not pay more than 50. Removal of unprotected cladding”.
But Michael Gove, who later handled Housing Brief, said in November: “I’m still unhappy with the principle of leaseholders paying at all, regardless of how effective a plan is in capping their costs or Don’t get them too hard. At any one time.”
-What’s the plan next?
Mr Gove has now said developers must agree to a £4 billion plan to fix dangerous cladding on low-rise flats by early March or risk forcing new laws to act.
The cabinet minister threatened that he was “ready to take all necessary steps” to fix the “broken system” in a letter to the industry before detailing the plans on Monday.
Possible actions include restricting access to government funds and future purchases, exercising planning powers, and pursuing firms through the courts.
Under the plans, lessees in buildings 11m to 18m tall will no longer have to take out loans to cover the cost of improvement work – despite no fresh money coming in from the Treasury.
Instead, developers have been asked to agree to start contributing this year to cover the “full outstanding cost”, which Mr Gove estimates is £4 billion.
– What do campaigners and MPs understand from this news?
A spokesperson for the End Our cladding scandal said they were “cautiously optimistic” about the plans, but added that “the devil is in the detail”.
“It’s a welcome step in the right direction, but there’s still a long road to travel,” he said.
David Renard, housing spokesman for the Local Government Union, which represents 350 councils in England and Wales, warned that leaseholders were “not just innocent victims” of the scandal.
“The construction industry should also be made to fix fire safety defects built in blocks owned by councils and housing associations,” he said.
Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy said “promises are no substitute for a plan” as she urged the government to move forward to save leaseholders the cost.
“We need to have legally binding protections for leaseholders in law to guard against the costs of these catastrophic failures, a certain time frame that will end this nightmare and a Secretary of State who is able to take on the resources and political will. On the strength of big money interests – and win,” the Labor MP said.
Meanwhile, Stewart Beasley, acting president of the Home Builders Federation, acknowledged that lessees should not pay for the treatment, but said builders alone should not cover the cost.