Residents facing £2m bill over Grenfell-style cladding launch petition
The Government has been urged to rule formally that it is freeholders’ responsibility to ensure the safety of communal buildings across the country.
Residents who are facing a £2 million bill to have Grenfell-style cladding removed from their high-rise have launched a petition to encourage ministers to intervene.
Leaseholders at Citiscape in Croydon, south London, which has panels with the same aluminium composite material (ACM) thought to have fuelled the fire at Grenfell Tower, face crippling costs which could be levied as soon as March 1.
The “terrified” residents have been told by their property management company that the cost of a new cladding system for the 10-storey block is likely to be covered through service charges, which would be borne collectively by leaseholders.
With many unable to afford the charges, they now find themselves in “the appalling situation of living in flats that they know are at risk of going up in flames, but unable to take any action to keep their homes and their families safe”, their local MP Steve Reed said.
A tribunal hearing in February is to be held to determine where the costs should fall, but residents have launched a Government petition in a desperate bid for intervention now.
The petition, which has more than 100 signatures, asks the Government to turn its “words into action” and rule formally that it is freeholders’ responsibility to ensure the safety of communal buildings across the country.
It also asks for the Government to provide financial support so that “whatever measures are required in this exceptional case” can be put in place without delay.
Miguel, 35, who has lived in the block since November 2015, said: “The Government, as the representative of all citizens, has to ensure that the right thing is done.
“I just hope this is the little nudge that helps them walk the walk after all the talk they have done since last summer.”
The fire in west London on June 14 last year killed 71 people.
Last week Mr Reed wrote to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid asking him to “do the right thing” and avoid another Grenfell-style disaster by paying for the removal of flammable cladding on blocks like Citiscape.
The Government has repeatedly said it wants to see private sector landlords follow the lead of the social sector and not pass on the costs of essential cladding replacement to leaseholders.
A Housing Department spokesman said: “We are clear we want to see private sector landlords follow the lead of the social sector and not pass on the costs of essential cladding replacement to leaseholders. We are keeping the situation under review.”