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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Cladding crisis ‘chilling’ property market because leaseholders cannot sell flats

New regulations banning the use of combustible materials on residential buildings were introduced in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

But in recent years leaseholders have been saddled with hefty bills to replace combustible cladding, insulation and balcony decking that has been outlawed.

Many leaseholders living in buildings found to be constructed from non-compliant materials are unable to sell their homes because the changes have meant they cannot acquire the paperwork needed for lenders to provide mortgages on the properties.

Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, has been tasked by Boris Johnson with addressing the problem amid growing concern among Tory backbenchers.

The government source pointed out that leasehold flats in London and Manchester, many of which have been affected by the problem, represent a “significant part” of the property market.

Possible solutions being examined by Mr Gove include the Government underwriting home insurance for affected leaseholders until their properties are deemed safe again in order to bring down the cost of premiums.

A source close to Mr Gove said: “As a new secretary of state, he is looking afresh at our work in this area to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect and support leaseholders.”

Campaigners, backed by several Conservative MPs, had called for Robert Jenrick, Mr Gove’s predecessor, to significantly increase the £5 billion funding pot for the remediation of unsafe cladding on high-rise buildings and provide funding for the replacement of other materials such as combustible balcony decking.

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