Sunday, June 26

Tenants ‘horrified’ after final vote on £ 10bn fire safety costs | Grenfell tower fire


The owners have reacted with “horror” after parliament finally voted against protecting them from post-Grenfell fire safety costs, which could amount to £ 10bn.

Activists of hundreds of thousands trapped with crippling bills to make their homes safe said Wednesday night’s vote in the House of Lords against protecting them “pulls less than a generation of tenants on the rug. ”.

It comes after weeks of debates in parliament in which the government rejected calls from Labor and some 30 rebel Conservative MPs to cover the cost and recover money from property developers.

Many homeowners say they now face financial ruin, warning that the decision to force them to pay puts lives at risk. Labor estimates that the crisis has left 1.3 million flats without a mortgage, and the crisis is so widespread that the Bank of England has been examining the exposure of lenders to blocks that have fire safety problems to determine whether the crisis of Building safety affects their stability. He currently believes that banks can absorb risk.

Thousands of housing blocks were found to have serious fire defects after the Grenfell fire on June 14, 2017, including similar cladding, but firebreaks are also missing in cavities in combustible walls and balconies. Many developers have refused to pay to repair the flaws, leaving residents facing bills in the tens of thousands each and additional running costs for fire guards to patrol the buildings. Living in fear of financial ruin and fire has sparked a mental health crisis among many.

End Our Cladding Scandal said the bill was passed “to the horror of the hundreds of thousands of innocent people across the country whose lives are being ruined by the building security crisis.”

The campaign group said: “As much as the government is playing with our finances, it is also playing with our lives. Almost four years after Grenfell and thousands of buildings across the UK are still covered in combustible materials and structurally unable to resist fire.

“The fear of bankruptcy is nothing compared to the real, ongoing terror that many of us experience when we lie in bed at night, trying to sleep, hoping this nightmare will end one day.”

The House of Lords ultimately voted against trying to protect affected tenants after the Commons voted five times against his plan, led by the government and its Housing Minister Christopher Pincher. Large numbers of fellow Labor abstained in the Lords, infuriating some tenants who supported Labor.

In February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament: “No tenant should have to pay the unaffordable costs of repairing security defects that they did not cause and that are not their fault.” Activists say he has now broken that promise.

MPs have calculated that the total bill could reach £ 15bn, but the government has so far pledged just £ 5bn to fund cladding repairs on buildings over 18m high. It has offered shorter property repair loans, which it argues are a lower risk, but renters say this leaves them with the same financial burden.

Government has estimated the cost to tenants of the legislation, which will now go through the Commons on Thursday, could be up to £ 75,000 for each tenant.

The activists said they will not stop fighting for justice. One tenant, Jake Maarschalkerweerd from Klotz, wrote on Twitter: “Going through disbelief, anger, fear, despair and exasperation following the passing of the fire safety law without any protection for the tenants… the tenants have done all good and nothing bad. We are still struggling “.


www.theguardian.com

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