After the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the Government established a Building Safety Programme with the aim of “ensuring that residents of high-rise residential buildings are safe, and feel safe from the risk of fire, now and in the future.”

Remediation work is complex, with significant associated costs. The full cost of remediation work on all affected blocks is estimated at around £15 billion (PDF). Government funding announced to date is £5.1 billion.

The question of who should pay for the work is at the forefront of debate about how quickly the work can be done and the financial implications for long leaseholders.

Funding to remove ACM cladding

In the aftermath of Grenfell, the Government said building owners should take responsibility for funding fire safety measures, including the replacement of dangerous cladding.

Almost one year later, on 16 May 2018 the Government said it would meet the “reasonable cost” of the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations.

Not all developers and freeholders responded positively to calls to protect leaseholders in private blocks from the cost of remediation work. Almost two years after Grenfell, on 9 May 2019 James Brokenshire, then-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (now the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, DLUHC), said the Government would fully fund replacements of “ unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on high-rise private residential properties where building owners have failed to do so.

Funding to remove non-ACM combustible cladding

In the March 2020 Budget, the Government said it would provide £1 billion in 2020 to 2021 “to support the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on residential buildings 18 metres and over in both the private and social housing sectors.”

The registration process for the Building Safety Fund opened on 1 June and closed on 31 July 2020. The deadline for submitting funding applications was extended 30 June 2021. Further flexibilities are being considered on a case-by-case basis.

Additional funding February 2021

On 10 February 2021, Robert Jenrick, then-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced additional funding of £3.5 billion for the removal of combustible cladding on high rise blocks of 18 metres and over.

Industry to pay: 10 January 2022

On 10 January 2022, Michael Gove, Secretary of State at DLUHC, said the next phase of the Building Safety Fund would open later in the year “to drive forward taking dangerous cladding off high-rise buildings, prioritising the government’s £5.1 billion funding on the highest risk.” The press release said:

  • Leaseholders living in their own flats will not face any costs to fix dangerous cladding, with developers and cladding companies paying instead
  • Industry given two months to agree to a plan of action to fund remediation costs, currently estimated at £4 billion

There is a Government commitment to introduce amendments to the Building Safety Bill, currently before Parliament, to “protect leaseholders from having costs passed on unfairly by the owners of the freeholds of these buildings.” The precise nature of these protections and who will be covered is currently unclear.

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee (LUHC), is conducting an inquiry into the implications of the 10 January 2022 announcement.

Ongoing issues

There have been several inquiries into progress with remediation works. Concerns span the following areas:

Affected long leaseholders should seek professional legal advice and assistance. The Leasehold Advisory Service and the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (which also acts as the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on leasehold reform) are potential sources of advice. The LKP has a dedicated email address:

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