The House of Lords have recently voted on the Fire Safety Bill that was drafted by Parliament in response to the Grenfell tragedy.
The House of Lords voted 326 to 248 in favour of a motion put forward by the Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, to insert into the legislation a clause prohibiting remediation costs from being passed onto residents.
This is the second time the bill has been passed back to Parliament with the same amendment and, in November, MP’s voted 340 – 225 in favour of a government motion to reject the amendment. MP’s have claimed that this bill is not the place to discuss issues over remediation costs as it is simply a short piece of legislation placing a duty on building owners to inspect cladding and fire doors. If MP’s vote to reject the amendment again, the House of Lords will be unable to send the bill back a further time.
Parliament has proposed a much longer Building Safety Bill which will cover the matter of remediation costs. To date, there has been no commitment from the Government to legislate to protect leaseholders from cladding remediation costs.
Leaseholders are facing staggering costs for the remediation works to the buildings of up to £50,000, as costs for maintaining and repairing the building are usually recouped by way of a service charge clause in leases.
The leasehold property market is effectively stagnant at the moment with leaseholders unable to sell their properties and mortgage companies unwilling to lend on them.
Only time will tell what MP’s vote this time around.