*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Lords amendments back householders who face cladding bills for high-rise flats

04 March 2022

Alamy

A block of flats in Southampton is covered in scaffolding as work takes place to replace unsafe cladding

A block of flats in Southampton is covered in scaffolding as work takes place to replace unsafe cladding

CAMPAIGNERS on behalf of householders facing huge bills for the replacement of inflammable cladding on their high-rise flats scored a tactical victory in the House of Lords last week with a series of amendments to a proposed building-safety law requiring those responsible for defective construction to pay for it to be rectified.

Three of the “Perpetrator Pays” amendments, as they are described, to the Building Safety Bill were proposed by a crossbench peer, the Earl of Lytton, who described them as “core, fundamental principles” in the legislation seeking to right the wrongs exposed by the disastrous Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Introducing the amendments to a grand committee in the Lords on Thursday of last week, he said: “My purpose is to make the developer strictly liable for demonstrable failures to meet the regulatory standards at the time of works. The problem we have here is one of weak claimant and powerful defendant, and it is that fundamental imbalance that prevents things such as acting against defective workmanship that may amount to unlawful activity. That is why we have to do something to redress that.”

He continued: “This is not anti-developer; my belief is that there are many conscientious developers, but a number of significant players have allowed standards to drop. It is those latter that I wish to single out and attach responsibility to.”

Lord Lytton’s proposals include an industry-funded fire hazard remediation scheme. He explained: “Leaseholders should not be responsible or liable for fire safety remediation costs. . . The taxpayer should not foot the bill, other than as an extremely limited last resort — and I mean extremely limited — for interim funding to get a remediation scheme in place, as bridging finance.”

The cost should fall on an industry “that allowed these practices, and what amounts to a gross breach of trust, to take root”.

He said that the volume of correspondence on the issue was the largest on any he had received in the Lords. “Even a former Australian state premier, Ted Baillieu, who now heads that state’s cladding taskforce, thinks this is a game-changer that it will look to as well. The eyes of many people in this country and elsewhere are on us.”

Campaigners are hoping that the Government will now incorporate the proposals for the Bill’s return to Parliament for its report stage later this year.

Steve Day, a leaseholder caught up in the cladding crisis, was prominent in devising the amendments. He said: “We have been working with Government behind the scenes for months. Things are going well. This is the pressure to get things done. The hope of the country rests on the Government doing the right thing, and putting responsibility for bad building on the shoulders of those responsible. There is nothing like full liability to focus the mind.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)