More residents ‘unable to sell or remortgage’ due to cladding
ACCORDING TO the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations, 650 families in housing association owned high rises are unable to sell or remortgage homes due to combustible cladding.
Inside Housing reported on the G15’s findings, which ‘for the first time revealed’ the number of households unable to ‘prove to lenders that their building’s cladding adheres to government advice on combustible materials’. This has come after the combustible materials ban last December and Advice Note 14 released by the government, which called on those owning buildings over 18m to check for combustible materials and remove them ‘if found’ in external wall systems.
That guidance has led to a ‘number of issues’ for leaseholders, including property sales being cancelled and sellers having homes valued at nothing ‘if unable to provide evidence that the external wall system complies’ with the advice note. Residents attempting to remortgage are also struggling due to properties being ‘unmortgageable without’ the certification from the advice note, which can lead to leaseholders ‘being put on variable mortgage rates, far higher rate than their previous rates’.
This situation has ‘caused problems’ for leaseholders and shared owners in both privately owned and housing association blocks, with these ‘exacerbated’ by a lack of fire engineers and inspectors available’ to undertake checks under Advice Note 14, as well as other inspectors ‘struggling to secure the correct public liability insurance to be able to sign off’ any documentation.
Nigel Glen, chief executive of the Association of Residential Managing Agents, stated that the country faced a ‘complete stall of flat selling’ due to the advice note, while the Labour party estimates that the number of residents potentially affected could be ‘as much as’ 600,000 across England.
Helen Evans, chair of the G15 and chief executive of Network, stated that the government needed to help ‘unstick the process’, and added: ‘The government needs to provide urgently needed clarity to their confusing guidance and explore funding, as costs associated with building safety will otherwise leave many leaseholders with unaffordable bills, and reduce the capacity of housing associations to build new affordable homes.’