New Forest East

MHCLG – CLADDING SCANDAL (3) [15157] - 13 June 2021

MHCLG – CLADDING SCANDAL (3) [15157] - 13 June 2021

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what protection he has made available to leaseholders to prevent freeholders making them forfeit their leases due to inability to pay (a) cladding and (b) other fire safety-related costs demanded in service charge bills rendered for payment prior to the introduction of planned government fire-safety remedial compensation schemes; and if he will make a statement.  [15157]

[Due for Answer on 17 June. Answered on 21 June.]

HOLDING ANSWER: The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.


The Minister of State for Housing (Christopher Pincher): The Government believes that forfeiture is a draconian measure and should only be used as a last resort. In practice forfeiture happens very rarely and is subject to the right of relief, to be exercised at the court’s discretion. Any changes to forfeiture will require a careful balancing of the rights and responsibilities of landlords and leaseholders. As a first step, we have asked the Law Commission to update their 2006 report Termination of Tenancies for Tenant Default given the passage of time, and to take into account the implications of the reforms currently underway. We will then consider what action may be needed, including potential legislative measures.

The Government is providing £5 billion of funding to protect leaseholders living in residential buildings over 18 metres with unsafe cladding from the costs of remediation. Leaseholders in buildings between 11 and 18 metres will be able to access finance for cladding remediation, with a commitment that they will not have to pay more than £50 per month towards these remediation costs. Government funding does not absolve building owners of their responsibility to ensure their buildings are safe.  They should consider all routes to meet costs, protecting leaseholders where they can – for example through warranties and recovering costs from contractors for incorrect or poor work.  We have seen many responsible developers and building owners stepping up to take responsibility for correcting these defects - for example, in more than half of the high-rise private sector buildings with ACM.