The cladding costs of the lessor BTL must be borne: the deputies

Buy-to-let landlords must be included in government plans to make housing companies and their suppliers pay for the removal of hazardous coatings, MPs say.

“The Secretary of State [for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove] said the government would protect leaseholders from remediation costs, but too many tenants will fall through the cracks of the government’s piecemeal measures,” the ministry’s cross-party committee said in a report released today.

The report is the committee’s response to plans drawn up by Gove to fund the cost of removing hazardous coatings that remain on Commons buildings on January 10.

The Secretary of State’s proposals follow the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people, where the cladding was found to have accelerated the fire.

Gove said: ‘No tenant living in a building over 11m will ever have to face the expense of repairing unsafe surfacing.

“They are above reproach and it is morally wrong to be asked to pay the price.”

He said the government would amend the Building Safety Bill to retrospectively extend the legal right of landlords and tenants to seek compensation from the developer of their building for safety faults less than 30 years old. . The bill currently covers defaults up to 15 years.

Gove added that companies responsible for manufacturing hazardous coatings and insulation, as well as home builders, who refuse to cover those costs would be forced to do so by law.

But government plans do not cover homeowners with more than one property.

However, the Upgrading, Housing and Communities Committee says: ‘The report disagrees with the government that only BTL landlords with other property should be included in legal tenant protections, arguing that there are other options for excluding wealthy real estate tycoons without making landlords. more modest means, and calls on the government to publish an impact study before taking any action.

According to the government’s own data, 94% of private landlords rent property individually, with 44% becoming a landlord to contribute to their pension.

Committee Chairman Clive Betts adds: “Tenants are no more responsible for defects unrelated to siding than for defective siding in homes they have purchased in good faith.

“The government should come up with a comprehensive building safety fund, or upgrade its existing funding schemes, to ensure that the costs of correcting any building safety flaws that the original ‘polluter’ cannot be found are covered and that tenants are also compensated. costs they have already paid.

National Residential Landlords Association chief executive Ben Beadle said: ‘The government’s decision to exclude BTL landlords who rent more than one property from its scheme is unfair and unacceptable.

“As the committee rightly notes, landlords are no more responsible than other tenants for safety deficiencies in historic buildings.

“Ministers must now stop dragging their feet on this issue, accept the committee’s findings and end its unjust and inexcusable policy.

The committee report also includes calls to:

  • Drop the proposed cap on non-coating costs for tenants
  • Establish a global building safety fund to cover the costs of correcting all building safety flaws on all buildings of any height where the original “polluter” cannot be traced
  • Compensate tenants for costs already paid, including for interim measures and for insurance premium increases
  • Demand that all affected parties who played a role in the building safety crisis contribute funds for remediation
  • Ensure that the Affordable Housing Program is protected at its current level and that social housing tenants do not pay the price through costs or diversion of funds away from maintaining their homes or other vital services.
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